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Amita Triad rising over Hills 

Traditionally ascribed to Eshin Sozu Genshin 

Japanese, 9/12-1017 

Owned by the Konkai Komyo-ji, Kyoto, 
and now deposited in the Imperial Museum, Kyoto 

This group of Amita Buddha with Kwannon on the right 
and Seishi on the left is generally believed by critics to be 
a work of the Kamakura period (thirteenth century) ; but in 
the author's opinion the traditional ascription should be ac- 
cepted. The text inscribed on the two upper corners expresses 
the artist's devotion to Buddha, and in this inscription the 
author sees Eshin's autograph. 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013 

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By M. ANESAKI, M.A., Litt.D. 

Professor of the Science of Religion in the Imperial University of Tokyo 

and Professor of Japanese Literature and Life 

in Harvard University 







Published November igiS 





Di quesla costa. Id dov' ella /range 

Piu sua raltezza, nacque al inondo un sole, 
Come fa queslo lalvolta di Gange. 

Pero chi d'esso loco fa parole 

Nan dica Ascesi, che direbbe carlo, 
Ma Orienle, se propria dir vuole. 

Dante, Paradiso. 


The present volume is the result of four Thursday Conferences given at 
the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in January and February of igi/i- The 
' object of the lectures was, as the title expresses it, to elucidate the ideas 
and ideals which inspired Buddhist artists, and to give some account of 
the legends which they illustrated. In treating of these matters I have 
dwelt very largely on Japanese Buddhism, not only because it is a subject 
with which I am intimate, but also because I think Japanese Buddhism is 
representative, more than Indian and Chinese, of a continuous develop- 
ment both in doctrine and in art. If I had attempted a history of Buddhist 
art in all the phases of its development, my plan must necessarily have 
been quite different. In that case, the derivation of Chinese Buddhist art 
from Indian sources in the centuries preceding the sixth, the development 
of the T'ang art into that of the Sung and then into the Japanese art of 
the fourteenth century, and other similar matters, would have been dis- 
cussed. But in spite of the rich material brought out in recent years from 
China and central Asia, and in spite of the systematic studies made by 
scholars on the relics of Chinese art existing in Japan, there are various 
obscure points, such as the relation between the diverse streams of Indian 
art and the Chinese art of the sixth and seventh centuries, or the origin 
of the Shingon (or Mantra) Buddhism and of its iconography, at which it 
has been possible merely to hint in the following pages. Thus the main 
purpose of the present volume is to provide an elucidation of Buddhist art 
in its developed form, though endeavors have also been made to show its 
intrinsic connection with the fundamental ideas of Buddhism. Let me 
add that inasmuch as the paintings, statues, etc., reproduced throughout 
the book are primarily intended to illustrate the Buddhist religion, it has 
been necessary, in one or two instances, to introduce objects of secondary 
importance as examples of Buddhist art. 

And here I would say a few words in regard to my personal contact with 


Buddhist art. I was born in Kyoto, the centre of Japanese Buddhism and 
Buddhist art, and was, in my early years, quite intimate with the rehcs 
of art stored in the temples in and about the city. But my sense for art was 
overshadowed by my study of philosophy, especially of English agnosti- 
cism. Later, when I studied German idealism, during my student years in 
Tokyo and in Germany, a revival of Buddhist idealism became a powerful 
factor of my mental life, and enabled me to appreciate more deeply than 
ever before the ideals of the Buddhist and the Christian religions. My 
journeys in Italy, in 1902 and in 1908, especially the latter, had the effect 
of awakening my remembrance of Buddhist art, and thus a high admi- 
ration for Buddhist painting has become inseparably connected with a 
similar feeling for that of the Italian Quattrocentists, just as my devotion 
to Honen, the pietist saint of Japanese Buddhism, has been linked with 
my reverent attachment to the Christian saint who preached to birds 
and wrote the Canticle of the Sun. This I say in order rather to explain 
my reasons for dedicating this volume to St. Francis of Assisi, than to 
afford an opportunity for speaking of myself. May I hope that my 
Catholic friends, especially those of the Order of Minor Friars, will not 
take this as a sacrilege .^^ 

I wish to avail myself of this opportunity to express my gratitude to 
Dr. Fairbanks, Director of the Museum, who first suggested the publica- 
tion of these lectures in book form ; to Mr. F. S. Kershaw, who was kind 
enough to give me the benefit of his comment on the first two lectures; 
and particularly to Dr.W. S. Bigelow, who has afforded me much indispen- 
sable encouragement and advice. Special thanks, however, are due to Mr. 
J. E. Lodge, Assistant Curator in Charge of the Department of Chinese 
and Japanese Art, who has done everything for me in selecting material, 
in revising the manuscripts, and in supervising the publication; — indeed 
without his kind and painstaking help this book would have been im- 

M. Anesaki. 

Cambbidge, May, i91U. 


The following brief indications may be found helpful in the pronunciation of unfa- 
miliar Sanskrit, Pah, Chinese, and Japanese words. 

In Sanskrit and Pali, the vowels are pronounced as in Italian or Spanish ; s and s are 
soft, — something like sh in English; d and / are pure lingual consonants, — not dental 
as in English; n is also a pure lingual consonant, — not nasal; th and dh are pronounced 
like the italicized letters in the phrases ' hit haid ' and ' hard hit ' respectively. 

In Chinese, according to Wade's system of transhteration, a is usually long as in 
'father'; e short as in 'yet'; e, much like the vowel sound in the German 'schon,' except 
before n, when it is like the vowel sound in 'sun'; ilong as in 'machine,' except before 
n, when it is short as in 'pin'; o not quite so broad as the 'aw' in 'saw'; u like the 
vowel sound in 'too,' except before n, when it resembles the vowel sound in 'look'; ii 
like the French ' u ' in ' du ' ; u, something like the vowel sound in the first syllable of 
'surround'; ou, something like the vowel sound in 'foe'; ai as in 'aisle'; ei like the 
vowel sound in 'say'; in other vowel combinations each letter retains its original 
force ; ch is hard as in ' church ' ; y is soft like the ' s ' in ' vision ' ; hs approximately like ' sh ' 
in English. The inverted comma in Tang, Ch'an and other words indicates a gentle 

In Japanese the vowels are sounded as in Italian or Spanish. Each member of a 
diphthong or other vowel combination retains its original force, and the important 
distinction between a long and a short vowel results from duration of utterance rather 
than from any change in sound. The consonants are pronounced approximately as in 
English. G is hard as in 'give,' and double consonants should be pronounced really 
double, as in 'shof-fower' or 'coc^-crow.' There is practically no tonic accent, though 
a similar effect is produced by the prolongation of the long vowels and by the enun- 
ciation of double consonants. 


I. The Life of Buddha, the Foundation of the Buddhist 

Religion, and the Beginning of its Art . . . i 

II. The Buddhist Ideal of Communion in Japanese Art . 19 

III. Buddhist Cosmotheism and the Symbolism of its Art . 3i 

IV. Buddhist Naturalism and Individualism: the Transition 

from Religious to Secular Arts 47 

Bibliography 63 

Index 69 
















Amita Triad rising over Hills. Traditionally as- 
cribed TO EsHiN Sozu Genshin . . . Frontispiece 

A Buddhist Memorial Stela lo 

Top of the North Gateway to the Great Stupa at 
Sanchi, India, seen from within . . . .11 

(A & B) Gandhara Sculptures 12 

Detail from the Wall-Paintings in the Golden Hall 
of horyu-ji 

The Hokke Mandala 


Kwannon as the Merciful All-Mother. By Kano 

(A) The Golden Hall, Gateway and Pagoda of Horyu-ji 

(B) West Front of the Hokke-do of Todai-ji, Nara . 

(A & B) Two OF THE Four Guardian Kings 

Brahma, King of the Heavenly Hosts 

Amita Buddha and Twenty-five Bodhisattva 
Eshin Sozu Genshin 

The Great Amita Buddha at Kamakura 

The Amita Triad 

Dai-nichi, the Great Illuminator 

FuDO AND HIS Attendants .... 

(A & B) Shuji Mandala 

Dai-Itoku-myowo, the Great Majestic Power 

Aizen-myowo, the Great Passion . 













XX. (A, B, & C) KwANNON 

XXL Jizo, THE Earth-Womb 
XXII. KoKuzo, THE Sky-Womb 

XXII I. KoKuzo, THE Sky-Womb 

XXIV. MoNJu, THE Charming Splendor 
XXV. MoNJu, THE Charming Splendor 

XXV I. FuGEN, THE All-pervading Wisdom 

XXVII. (A, B, & C) The Shaka Triad 

XXVIII. A Syncretic Mandala 

XXIX. A Landscape. By Sesshu . 

XXX. Ideal Portrait of Bodhidharma. By Men Wu-kuan 


XXXI. Shaka. In the style of Kano Utanosuke 
XXXII. White-robed Kwannon. By Kano Motonobu 

XXXIII. Kwannon. In the style of Sesshu . 

XXXIV. MoNJU. By Kano Tanyo .... 
XXXV. MoNJU. By Hosetsu 




The Arhant (Rakan) Ananda feeding a Hungry 
Ghost. By Chou Chi-chang {Shu-kijo) and Lin 55 
T'ing-kuei (Rin-teikei) 55 

XXXVII. The Arhant (Rakan) Darbha Malli-putra ascending 
TO the Sky. By Chou Chi-chang (Shu-kijo) and Lin 
T'ing-kuei (Rin-teikei) 55 

XXXVIII. The Three Laughers of Hu-hsi (Kokei). By Soga 

XXXIX. Han-Shan (Kanzan) and Shih-Te (Jittoku) 
XL. Shih-Te (Jittoku). By Gei-ami. 



XLL A Chinese Landscape. In the style of Soga Shu- 

XLII. A Chinese Landscape. By Josetsu 

XLIII. (A & B) Dragon and Tiger. By Hasegawa Tohaku 

XLIV. A Travesty on Fugen, By Katsukawa Shunsho 

XLV. A Travesty on Han-Shan (Kanzan) and Shih-Te 
(JiTTOKu). By Katsukawa Shunsho 

XLVI. A Cormorant. By Miyamoto Musashi 

XLVII. Sparrow and Chrysanthemums. By Kenzan 













It is almost needless to say that art and religion are two of the most 
potent factors of human life. Art stimulates fancy by visualizing and 
perpetuating beauty ; it also tranquillizes the mind of man by inducing it 
to contemplate what underlies the loveliness of forms and colors. Religion 
gives man new life; it is an inspiration to the vigorous and a consolation 
to the weak; it incites man to activity, even to the risk of death, but it 
also pacifies him and transforms the wolf into a lamb. These two factors 
have almost always been associated throughout the history of mankind. 
Religious faith has invariably found expression in art, which, in turn, has 
derived the inspiration of its highest achievement from religion. Is this 
association of art and religion a chance, a passing phenomenon, or is there 
any necessary connection inherent in the nature of both.I^ Gn this point 
it is not my purpose to theorize; I shall try, rather, to illustrate the inner 
relationship of Buddhist art and religion by tracing to their source the 
ideals and beliefs of Buddhism. 

Before taking up my subject, however, there is one matter to which I 
would call attention. Curiously there prevails in the West an impression 
that Buddhism is a religion of mere negation and pure abstraction. Here 
I shall not argue. I simply wish to point out that he will never under- 
stand Buddhist art who does not free his mind from such a preconception. 
Buddhism exhorts its followers to overstep the bounds of self and enter 
the ideal community of spiritual life. This teaching is, to be sure, a nega- 
tion of the bondage of individual limitations ; but it is equally an affirmation 
of a life broader than the individual. It may be called withdrawal from 


the material world, but it is also an entrance into the larger world of 
ideals. It was this breadth of mental vista and depth of sympathy that 
made Buddhism a universal religion and gave inspiration to artistic genius. 
The ideal of the Buddhist faith consists in realizing, through spiritual ex- 
perience and in moral acts, the continuity of life in man and nature and 
the fellowship of all beings. This ideal was the soil which nourished the 
stem of the Buddhist religion and the flowers of Buddhist art. The seed 
sown was the person of Buddha, the Sage of the Sakya clan, who was 
born about twenty-five hundred years ago in India. He proclaimed this 
ideal to mankind, and it was the pious remembrance of his person, on the 
peo't of his followers, that gave to Buddhist art its first impetus. Who, 
then, was he? What did he teach .^> 

It was among the luxurious growth of a tropical flora, in the royal gar- 
dens at Kapilavastu, at the foot of the Himalayas, that a young prince 
pondered over the questions pressing upon his mind : What is life.^^ Whence 
have we come.^^ Whither are we going.*^ The foliage and flowers swaying in 
the glorious sunshine, the snow-clad peaks floating far off in the pale 
moonlight, the fireflies glowing in the darkness of night and flying in 
swarms among the trees, — each of these seemed to him to be telling of 
the evanescence of worldly things. The gay sing-song of the dancing- 
girls, the melodies of lutes and cymbals, the gorgeous feasts and proces- 
sions, the ostentatious celebration of festivals, all these things, offered for 
his pleasure, were but torture inflicted upon his meditative mind. At last 
the worldly life of a prince became unbearable to him. He fled out of his 
father's palace and became a recluse. Wandering among forests he thought 
over the same problems again and again, seeking a final solution. "Life is 
subject to age and death. Where is the realm of life in which there is 
neither age nor death.^^ What is our life, — made up of body and mind, of 
perceptions and emotions. »^ Is there no haven where we can be free from 
sorrows and agonies .^^ " Years passed in these meditations and in the prac- 
tice of self-mortification. 

At last, while he was sitting under the pendent branches and rustling 


leaves of a pippala tree near Gay a, and when the morning star ghttered in 
the transparent sky of the east, the Hght of illumination dawned upon his 
mind. The final solution was, after all, quite a simple one: that selfishness 
is the root of all sorrows and vices. Peace came to his mind with the 
conviction that man is tormented by greed for gain or by sorrow for loss 
simply because he is held captive within the narrow limits of self-inter- 
est, and that beyond this captivity stretches out a vast expanse of univer- 
sal life. The individual is destined to die, together with the passing phases 
of his existence. But life itself never dies, since it persists in the lives of 
those who have grasped the truth and found the real life in that which is 
common to all. This is the truth of universal and everlasting life, the basic 
unity and the ultimate goal of all separate existences. In this new life the 
solitary seeker realized his spiritual fellowship with the Enlightened 
(^Buddha) or Truth-winners (Tathdgata) of the past, sages of old who had 
trodden the same way and reached the final destination. His whole being 
underwent a complete transformation through the force of his simple but 
permanent acceptance of life transfigured into the universal communion of 
truth. The lonely recluse had become a Buddha or Tathdgata. Then he 
bathed in the cool water of the river flowing past his seat and cleansed his 
body just as he had cleansed his mind. For a while he remained under the 
pippala tree ^ and enjoyed, in the serene atmosphere of the shadowy spot, 
the light of his spiritual illumination. 

Once a royal prince, then an ascetic, and at last a Truth-winner, he was 
no more a slave of life and of its pleasure and pain, but a master of the 
truth of universal life. Yet there remained for him a further question: 
Should he enjoy this enlightenment within himself alone, as former sages 
had done, or should he proclaim it to others, that they might be induced 
to seek the same attainment.^^ While he was thinking of this, it is said, 
Brahma, the lord of the heavenly hosts, came down to his side and ad- 
monished him to enlighten others in the same truth. Buddha looked with 
his spiritual eyes the world over, and compassion for his fellow beings took 

' Thereafter called the Bodhi tree, because under it Buddha attained Bodhi (Enlightenment). The 
corrupt form, Bo tree is also common. 


possession of his mind. He saw them, as it is told, Hke lotus stems and 
buds in a lake, some immersed in the mud, others coming out of it or just 
appearing above the water, and still others beginning to blossom. Seeing 
this he determined to bring them all to full bloom and to the bearing of 
fruit. ^ In other words, he became convinced of the possibility and neces- 
sity of extending the communion of the Truth-winners to all sentient be- 
ings, who should in turn become the future Truth-winners. The spiritual 
tie which connected his life with the sages of old must be destined to em- 
brace those still outside the pale; because the truth, by realization of 
which he had become the Buddha, should be common to the lives and 
minds of all. Every one overcoming the restrictions of his selfish envelope 
could realize his spiritual fellowship with all others and could practice that 
ideal relation in the transfigured life of love and compassion. Moreover, it 
was clearly seen by Buddha that his own perception of the truth would be 
in vain, unless it should really lead his fellow beings to the same com- 
munion of universal life. 

Faithful to his conviction and firm in his determination, Buddha started 
on a missionary journey, "to turn the indestructible wheel of truth," "to 
pour the blessing-rain of truth," for the sake of others. With this purpose 
he turned his steps to Kasi (Benares), the holy metropolis of all India, 
and preached there to five ascetics, who were soon converted to his faith. 
This was the first step toward realizing the extension of the ideal commu- 
nity of life, the nucleus of the Buddhist communion (Sangha) among man- 
kind. It is said that all the heavenly hosts came together at the scene of 
the sermon and sang in adoration of the Truth (Dharma). An Enlight- 
ened One, a sage, thus became the Master of Truth and the leader of 
men and celestial beings. The Tathagata was no more the " One who has 
gone beyond," but the " One who has come down " to lead others; not only 
the Truth-winner, but also the Truth-revealer; and Buddha's person as 
such a Truth-revealer, together with the Dharma he revealed and the 

^ For the description of these steps in Buddha's determination, see K. E. Neumann, Die Reden Gotamo 
Buddha's, vol. i, pp. 269-79. Attention is also called to the importance of the simile of the lotus, especially 
in reference to the " Lotus of Truth " of which I shall presently speak {page i5ff). Brahma, the Heavenly 
Lord, as he appears in a Japanese work of sculpture, will be referred to in the second chapter. 


Sangha he founded, make up the Three Treasures, or Holy Trinity, of the 
Buddhist rehgion. 

Soon the Buddhist communion was extended, in the early stages of 
Buddha's ministry, to tens and hundreds. These the Master sent to 
preach everywhere "the Truth which is glorious at its start, glorious at its 
climax, glorious in its consummation," for the "weal and the welfare of 
many people, and out of compassion for the world." ^ Buddha himself 
passed the rest of his life, nearly fifty years, in missionary journeys, in 
preaching his gospel, consoling the afflicted, rescuing pest-stricken regions, 
and mediating between combatant parties. He was revered as the Mas- 
ter, the Lord of Truth, the King of Law.^ His community embraced all 
those who followed him, without regard to distinctions of caste or capa- 
bility. His disciples went everywhere in India, even outside its boundaries 
and beyond the Indus to countries inhabited by fierce barbarians. Mis- 
sions to foreign lands were carried out still more extensively and vigor- 
ously in the third century B.C. by the pious King Asoka, penetrating even 
to Greece and Egypt in the West and to the inland borders of China in the 
East. These missionary activities had important bearing not only upon 
the propagation of Buddhist teachings, but also upon the development of 
its art, as we shall presently see. 

Thus it was the personal inspiration of Buddha that laid the foundation 
of his religion, the religion taught by him as well as the religion of faith in 
him. This religion was the result of his enlightenment, through which he 
achieved the transformation of his life by entering the community of the 
Truth-winners and embracing all fellow beings in the same communion. 
The actual community of the Buddhists, or Buddhist Church, was a mani- 
festation and realization of the ideal communion grasped in Buddha's 
spiritual illumination. And here the question arises: What was the source 
of the artistic inspiration which Buddhism developed so opulently? In 
other words: Was Buddha himself an artist, or had Buddhism any inherent 

1 A. J. Edmunds, Buddhist and Christian Gospels, vol. i, pp. 226-26. 

2 This is a very important point in Buddhist faith, which many Western scholars fail to grasp. Later 
on we shall see a development of this idea in the identification of Buddha's person with cosmic life. 
Compare Edmunds, op. cit., vol. 11, p. 83. 


tendency to express itself in art? Our answer is affirmative, with a certain 
special extension in the meaning of the words "art" and "artist." 
Buddhism offered three sources of artistic inspiration. The first is the 
conception of life implied in Buddha's personality and proclaimed by his 
teachings. The second is a consequence of the first and consists in the 
pious memory of the Master cherished among his followers. The third, 
another corollary of the first, is the practice of dedication based on the 
ideal of universal communion. 

Buddha was an artist, not, I dare say, in the sense that he ever worked 
with brush or chisel, but in the sense that his perception of life was 
artistic. Who would deny that Christ was artistically inspired, when he 
saw the glory of God in the lilies of the field .1^ Who would doubt the 
indebtedness of Giotto and Dante to St. Francis of Assisi, or would hesi- 
tate to see in the pious and beautiful soul of Francis a living fountain 
of artistic inspiration.*^ Just in the same way Buddha, too, was an artist; 
because he perceived in man and in nature the vital and sympathetic 
tie which bound them to his own soul. Every thing and every fellow 
being is embraced in his spiritual life, and thus enters into an ulti- 
mate connection with his ideal. Nothing is left outside the bounds of 
his sympathy; all is vivified by the touch of personal relation. This is 
the process of idealization, the secret of artistic creation; and Buddha 
grasped this secret in his conception of universal communion and through 
his training in the transformed life. A metaphoric description of this 
artistic sympathy is best given by the simile of plants in the "Lotus of 

Similarly based on a broad sympathy is the fourfold "infinite emanci- 
pation or expansion of mind." ^ This expansion of mind implies a practice 
of meditation in love, compassion, joy and equanimity, by means of which 
the practitioner's consciousness is extended and embraces ideally all fellow 
beings in an infinitely expanded vision. Indeed, Buddha was a man of vi- 

' For descriptions of the method and its results, see Rhys Davids, The Dialogues of the Buddha, vol. i, 
pp. 317-18. 


sion in the best sense, and it is perhaps beyond our power to estimate how 
vividly he reahzed the continuity of hfe through his spiritual eyes. But, 
on the other hand. Buddhism is by no means a religion of mere ecstasy. 
Its meditative training, together with the practice of charity in various 
ways,^ results in a total transformation of life through the realization, first 
in Idea and then in acts, of one's spiritual connection and sympathetic 
accord with mankind and surrounding nature. 

According to Buddhist view, the sphere of fellowship comprises not only 
all living creatures, but also supernal beings high in heaven, and the spirits 
inhabiting nature. Moreover, the strong impressions received by Buddha 
and his followers from animals and plants and the imposing landscapes 
of India, worked so deeply upon their minds that their feeling toward 
nature played an essential part in their idea of fellowship. Perhaps in no 
other religion are animals and flowers treated with such intimacy as in 
Buddhism, not only in the way of similes, but also in concrete manifes- 
tations of tender sympathy.^ It is no wonder that Buddha's sermons 
and the mental training of his disciples were closely connected with the 
love of nature, when we consider that most of their time was spent in 
the open, under the pendent branches of banyan trees, amidst the fragrance 
of sdla flowers, by the side of flowing streams or bubbling springs, or on 
hills and among rocks. This is the reason why the expansion of conscious- 
ness toward the infinite mind is, to take one of many instances, likened 
to the all-permeating pale moonlight and to a trumpet sound reverber- 
ating through the profound serenity of a tropical night. ^ In addition, we 
must remember that these and other metaphors were not mere figurative ex- 
pressions, but represented experiences derived from the natural grandeur 
or repose surrounding the scene of tranquil meditation. In a word, the 

1 The more usual are: giving, gentle words, benevolence and common benefit, the necessary conse- 
quences of the Buddhist conception of life. 

^ The representation of animals and trees in Buddhist sculpture will be presently spoken of. For animal 
stories, see Rhys Davids, The Buddhist Birth Stories; Jdtaka, translated by various scholars and edited by 
Cowell, in six volumes. The existing version of yEsop's Fables owes much to these Buddhist stories; see 
the introduction to the above book by Rhys Davids. 

3 Many of the similes of nature in Buddha's sermons may be found in K. E. Neumann, Die Reden 
Gotamo Buddha's. Poems by early Buddhists are translated in Mrs. Rhys Davids' The Psalms of the Early 
Buddhists; and in K. E. Neumann's Die Lieder der Monchen and Nonnen Gotamo Buddho's. 


love of nature played a vital part in the Buddhist conception of life and 
its continuity. 

Thus the ideal communion of the Buddhist faith comprised all kinds of 
existences, actual and imaginary, in men and in nature. The expansion of 
Buddha's spiritual being, wrought by this new conception of life, became 
the fountain-head of an inexhaustible inspiration in religion and morals, 
in art and poetry. All that he had once regarded as causes of sorrow and 
signs of evanescence was transfigured into delightful and inspiring testi- 
mony to his ideal fellowship with men and nature. This new aspect of life, 
now realized by the Master and inspired in his followers, was expressed as 
the gospel of the Ekaydna, or all-embracing Sole Road, whose rule should 
be the universal fellowship of life. This Sole Road is the Pathway to Im- 
mortality ^ and its final goal is Nirvana, the eternal haven of life, the realm 
of spiritual communion.^ To recapitulate, this ideal of the ultimate unity 
of all existences is the source, in Buddha's life and teaching, from which 
Buddhist art derived its profoundest and most enduring inspirations. 

Now we come to the second point in the inspiration of Buddhist art. 
The communion of life was, for the Buddhists, not a mere ideal vision but 
an actual fact realized in Buddha's life, in his conversion and in his inspi- 
ration. The Truth-winner and Truth-revealer, the Master, was believed 
by his disciples to be a personal testimony, an incarnation, of what he 
preached. Faith, not only in the truth but also in the person of Buddha, 
was what distinguished Buddhism preeminently from any of the older 
religions of India, and it was this personal influence that gave vitality to 
the Buddhist religion and its art. It is quite natural that the impressions 
given by Buddha's personality should have been faithfully and piously 
kept on record, together with the vivid effect of fellowship produced by 
the assembly of his followers united in heeirt and in the common ideal. 
How deeply his disciples were moved by the dignity of the Master, when 
he sat among his hearers "like a lion among animals," and preached with 
authority "like the lion's roar " ! How respectfully the people met the Sage 
of the Sakya clan, going through the streets, "like the elephant king," 

* Pali, amaiam padam. 

* I take these expressions from the Samyulla-Nikaya, chapter 43, one of the oldest Buddhist texts. 


calm and dignified at the head of hundreds of followers 1 ^ A monk poet 
sang: — 

To-day, at full moon, for full purity 
Five hundred brethren are together come. 
They all have cut their fetters and their bonds; 
Seers who are free from re-birth and from ill. 

And as a king who ruleth all the world, 
Surrounded by his councillors of state, 
Toureth around his empire everywhere, 
Driving throughout the lands that end in sea, 

So him, who is our victor in the fight, 
The peerless Master of our caravan, 
We followers attend and wait upon. 
Who hold the triple lore, slayers of Death. 

All we are sons of the Exalted One. 

No sterile babbler is among us found. 

I worship him who strikes down craving's darts. 

I greet the offspring of the Sun's great line.^ 

Closely connected with the ideal of communion and stimulated by the 
personal remembrance of the Master, the idea and practice of dedication ^ 
played a great part in the religion and art of Buddhism. The whole cosmos, 
according to the Buddhist view, is a stage on which may be realized that 
fellowship among all living beings whereof the Buddhist community, 
united in faith and practices, is an actual manifestation. Spiritual fellow- 
ship, however, is existent and attainable not only in the visible community 
but also throughout the unlimited extent of universal life. That is to say, 
each thought of man is pulsating with the heart-beat of the cosmic life, 
and when an individual acts and speaks he is playing an integral part in 
the motion and expression of the universe. Therefore his deeds and inten- 
tions can never be totally isolated from the lives of others, though the 
connection may sometimes be hidden and often unknown to the individual 

1 The appearance of the lion and the elephant in Buddhist sculpture will be taken up later in this 
chapter and in chapter ui. 

2 Mrs. Rhys Davids, Psalms of the Early Buddhists, The Brethren, pp. /lo2-o3. 
^ Sanskrit, parindmand; Japanese, eko. 


himself. The duty and joy of every Buddhist, that is, of every one who 
dwells in the all-embracing Communion of Life with conviction thereof, 
must lie in doing every deed, speaking every word and thinking every 
thought, with the pious intention of dedicating his best to the profit of all. 
The whole universe is the "Field of Merits" ^ in which the seeds of pious 
desire are sown and the harvest of merit is reaped. Dedication, in desire 
and in acts, is the means of realizing the communion and extending it to 
those who are still unaware of it. Consecrate a flower to the tomb of one 
dead; it is not only an expression of the spiritual communion existing 
between the dead and the living, but it may also induce into the same 
communion any one who might be impressed by the beauty of the flower 
or by the motive for its dedication. Any other meritorious action — such 
as giving food, nursing the sick, building a temple — may be dedicated to 
the Communion of Life and, perhaps, result in converting others. Thus the 
practice of dedication in thought and deed has ever been a great inspiring 
factor in the piety of Buddhists (Plate II). 

The new religion inaugurated by Buddha asserted its influence upon the 
moral life of his disciples and also expressed its faith and ideals in the forms 
of architecture and sculpture. The first manifestation of artistic activity 
among the Buddhists was seen in the memorials built in honor of the 
relics of the deceased Master. After Buddha's death his relics were 
divided among the various kingdoms which had embraced his faith, and 
each portion was deposited in a crystal pot filled with golden flowers and 
enclosed in an iron casket. Mounds (stupa) or chapels (caitya) were 
erected as repositories for these precious relics, and a little later palings 
and gateways were built around these memorials. In symbolic design, the 
palings were intended to represent the circle of the communion, and the 
gateways stood for the entrance to the Sole Way of salvation. Ceremonies 
were performed about the mounds or in the chapels, and processions 
marched around the reliquaries. These structures were embellished with 
relief carvings which show the earliest work of Buddhist sculptors. The 

, * Pali, punna-kkhetia; Sanskrit, punya-ksetra; Japanese, fuku-den. 


A Buddhist Memorial Stela 


A Buddhist Memorial Stela 
Chinese, dated 55A a.d. 

Owned by Hervey E. Wetzel, Esq., and now deposited in 
The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 

The scenes depicted are based chiefly on 
the Lotus of Truth (see p. 15 ff.) and rep- 
resent various aspects of the Buddhist 
Communion of Saints. The uppermost 
part, which is, unfortunately, much broken, 
seems to have illustrated the story told in 
chapter xxii of the Lotus, to the effect 
that the Bodhisattva Bhaisajya-raja (Chin- 
ese, Yao-wang), after he had been born 
as a son to King Vimaladatta, delivered 
a sermon to his father and then ascended 
to heaven, being mounted on a pedestal 
decorated with the seven kinds of jewels. 
We see here in the remains of an inscrip- 
tion, a Chinese ideograph denoting "king," 
above which the name of Vimaladatta 
probably appeared. The figure immediately 
to the right would thus be that of the king, 
and the knees on a bench-like pedestal still 
further to the right would belong to the 

The next register below evidently repre- 
sents the meeting of the two Buddhas, 
Sakya-muni (Chinese, Shih-chia) and Prab- 
hGta-ratna (Chinese, To-pao), in the 
heavenly shrine, as told in chapter xi of the 
Lotus. The two figures of Bodhisattva stand- 
ing beside the Buddhas are Bhaisajya-raja 
and Avalokitesvara (Chinese, Kuan Yin), 
who are most prominently mentioned in 
the Lotus as protectors of the Budd- 
hist religion and its believers in the 
latter days of the world. To the left of 
Bhaisajya-raja is a figure sitting under a 
tree; and to the right of Avalokitesvara, 
an ascetic sitting in a cave. Of these 
two the former was probably meant to 
represent Buddha in his princely life, 
meditating in his garden; while in the 
latter he appeeus as a recluse, before his 
attainment of Buddhahood. 

The scene in the third register shows 
Buddha with his two great disciples, Anan- 

da (Chinese, A-nan) and Maha-Kasyapa 
(Chinese, Chia-yeh), on his left and right 
respectively. On either side of the cen- 
tral group, and separated from it by a 
decorative partition, is a group consisting 
of a Padma-pani and a Vajra-pani, also 
protectors of the religion. Below this regis- 
ter there stands a reliquary to which four 
noblemen, the chief donors of the monu- 
ment, each accompanied by a horse and 
pages, come to pay homage. 

The whole thing was made, as the inscrip- 
tion at the bottom expresses it, under the 
West Wei dynasty, to dedicate the merit 
(of causing the carving to be done) to the 
welfare of the country and the people, espe- 
cially the ancestors, parents, and friends of 
the donors, who are enumerated to the 
extent of about two hundred men and 
women. A remarkable point in the tech- 
nique is that the Buddhas and Buddhist 
figures £U"e carved in pronounced relief, 
quite in the style of the carvings at Bharhat 
or Sanchi, while the figures of the Chinese 
noblemen are executed almost after the old 
Chinese method of chiselled drawing. The 
other three sides of the stone display the 
various but typified figures of the donors, 
also cut in the lowest possible relief. The 
workmanship of the Buddhist figures is 
interesting as an example of the Indian in- 
fluence which so affected the rise of Bud- 
dhist art in China, Korea, and Japan in the 
sixth and seventh centuries. The drapery 
of the two Buddhas in the second register is 
especially striking as a combination of In- 
dian and Chinese influences, and it is this 
resultant style that found its further devel- 
opment in the statues of Horyu-ji. 

Compgu-e also, E. Chavannes, in T'oung 
Pao, vol. XIV, no. 2, pp. 272-80; and in Ars 
Asiatica, vol. 11, pp. 20-29. 



Top of the North Gateway to the Great Stupa at Sanchi, India, seen 

from within 


Top of the North Gateway to the Great Stupa 
AT Sanchi, India, seen from within 

Reproduced from Burgess's " The Ancient Monuments, Temples, 
and Sculptures of India" 

Carved in relief, in the middle of the uppermost cross- 
piece, is the Bodhi tree, to which elephants are paying hom- 
age; and, at the intersection with the uprights, are winged, 
antelope-like animeJs unknown to Buddhist legend. 

On the middle cross-piece, the hosts of the Evil Ones (San- 
skrit, Mara) are threatening the prince, who is shown seated 
a little to the left of the centre, and still further to the left are 
a man, his wife and child, and the Bodhi tree. The birds on 
the terminals are peacocks (Sanskrit, maurya; Pali, moriya) 
representing the dynasty of King Asoka. 

On the lower cross-piece is a scene, beginning at the left 
terminal, which shows a palace surrounded by terraces and 
towers, a horseman, — probably intended for the Buddha in 
his princely estate, — a procession, a forest, a village, a her- 
mitage in front of which a sacrificial fire burns, and finally, 
on the right terminal, a number of people and animals in 
another part of the forest. 


oldest of such sculptures are, perhaps, the palings of Bharhat ^ (fourth cen- 
tury B.C.?), and the progress of the glyptic art in the third century b.c, 
during the reign of King Asoka, can be traced in the carved palings of 
Buddha-Gay a and Sanchi.^ Another treatment of sculpture is shown in 
the lions and elephants on top of the commemorative pillars which were 
erected by the king at places associated with important events in Buddha's 

Now these carvings represent, for the most part, assemblies of believers 
before the Master. Such assemblies were, as I have said, a concrete mani- 
festation of the Buddhist ideal of spiritual communion, and the fact that 
the early Buddhist sculptors worked on this subject shows the inspiring 
effect of the ideal upon their artistic genius. In the centre of the assembly 
there is always a symbolic representation of Buddha's person, such as the 
holy wheel (cakra) symbolizing the eternal truth revealed by him, or a 
vacant seat on which he used to sit, or the Bodhi tree under which he 
attained Buddhahood. Indeed the person of Buddha was too sacred and 
sublime to be represented, by the early Buddhist artists, as a human figure.^ 
On the other hand, the believers who are paying homage to the central 
figure are shown as living beings : men and women bringing garlands, angels 
hovering in the sky and perhaps singing in Buddha's praise, and animals 
sharing the communion and offering flowers. It is to be noted that ele- 
phants play the most prominent part among these animals, and also that 
lions are seated on the beams of the gateways. Flowers, too, are lavishly 
represented, generally in decorative medallions on the palings; and in this 
connection one may well recall Buddha's vision of lotus flowers symbol- 
izing various conditions of mankind. So far I have spoken with reference 
chiefly to the carvings at Sanchi (Plate III). Other scenes, however, sug- 
gested by the stories of Buddha's past existences in animal form, or by vari- 
ous incidents of his human life, are executed on the palings and columns of 
Bharhat, — all without human figures of Buddha. But though the sculp- 
ture of Bharhat has no characteristic other than charming naivete, that of 
Sanchi shows a great advance in delicate finish and compound grouping. 

1 Now deposited in the India Museum, Calcutta. ^ Near Bhopal. 

' He is, however, freely represented as a young prince, i. e., before he attained to Buddhahood. 


While glyptic representation of the Buddhist faith was gaining ground 
among Indian Buddhists, the artistic genius of the Greeks came into play, 
and not only contributed to the refinement of the art but also effected a 
significant change. The Greeks left behind by Alexander's expedition had 
established a kingdom in the northwest of India. In due course many of 
them were converted to Buddhism and worked out the newly embraced 
beliefs in sculpture. They took, it is true, the same subjects as their Indian 
brothers, representing the life of Buddha, or assemblies of the communion 
before the Master ; but the Greek ideal of personal beauty could not long 
fail of application to the person of the revered Perfect Being. Buddha, the 
"hero of the Solar Race," the "Light of the World which dispelled the 
darkness of illusion," was represented by the Graeco-Indian artists in all 
the beauty of an Apollo. The symbolic wheel was transferred to the deco- 
ration of his chair, and in the vacant seat was an Apollo Musagetes, with 
bright eyes and waving hair. The human beings paying homage to the 
central figure were clothed in Indian robes, but the celestial lords, Brahma 
and Indra, were represented like Zeus and Achilles (Plate IV, A & B). 
Needless to say, such influences contributed greatly to the enrichment of 
Buddhist sculpture ; and the most significant innovation — the one destined 
to become a permanent factor in Buddhist art — was undoubtedly the 
actual representation of the person of Buddha himself. Whether the 
anthropomorphic figures of Buddha are the product solely of Greek genius, 
is still a difficult and far-reaching historical question whose discussion 
would lead me beyond the scope of my present subject. Suffice it to point 
out that the Buddhist statues of southern India can hardly be designated 
as the outcome of Greek influence; and that, moreover, even in the sculp- 
ture of Northern Buddhism, in Central Asia, China, Korea, and Japan, 
there seem to have been two schools of sculptural art, one of which is 
decidedly Greek, while the other is not. 

There are also various interesting points which might be mentioned in 
connection with the origins of Buddhist painting and temple building ; but 
we must leave these out of consideration here, because, in the present state 
of knowledge, they pertain rather to archaeology than to art history. After 

Gandhara Sculptures 


Gandhara Sculptures 
Second Century, a. d. 

In the Museum of Fine Arls, Boston 

A. Nirvana: the dying Buddha surrounded by his follow- 
ers. On the left, close to the figure of Buddha, stands Indra, 
holding his symbolic thunderbolt in hisleft hand. On the 
right is a monastic disciple, probably Ananda, and in the 
background is a group of lay men and women. 

B. The Temptations : Buddha, with Seduction on his 
right and Violence on his left. 


all we can be pretty sure that early Buddhist painting treated similar sub- 
jects in a style analogous to that of the relief carvings, and that in the 
course of time the temples were built more and more as places of assembly 
and worship. We cannot doubt the inspiring effect of Buddhist ideals upon 
these branches of art, which found their way wherever the religion was 
propagated. The beginning of the Buddhist religion in a small community 
of Buddha's disciples, the rise of Buddhist sculpture after his death, the 
rapid development of Buddhist art partly through the contribution of the 
Greeks, the spread of the religion together with its art to China and Japan, 
— these steps will remain forever a marvel of human achievement inspired 
by the zeal of faith. Herein we can discern the subtle but close connection 
between religious faith and artistic inspiration ; and the connection becomes 
more manifest and vital in the developed form of Buddhism known as the 
Mahay ana, the Greater Vehicle or Broader Communion,^ which we are 
now about to consider. 

From the very beginning, it was the belief of Buddhists that their com- 
munion included all things visible and invisible. They imagined the pres- 
ence of heavenly hosts in the congregation of believers; the Mahd-samaya, 
or Great Assembly, as it is called, was believed to embrace all celestial 
beings; and to them are ascribed various songs, of which the following 
may serve as an example : — 

Great is the gathering in the glade! 

The hosts of heaven together met! 

We too are come unto this congress blest, 

And fain would see the Company Invincible. 

The brethren there, wrought up 

To concentration rapt, make straight their hearts, 

Wisely, as driver keeping grip on rein, 

Their faculties they guard. 

1 It is called the Greater in contrast to the Lesser Vehicle {H may ana) , not to the original Buddhism, 
as is often wrongly supposed. The books of the Broader Communion seem to have taken their present 
forms during centuries in the pre-Christian era, and are preserved in abundance in Nepal, China, Tibet, 
and Japan. Compare D. Suzuki, Outlines of Mahayana Buddhism. 


Who in the Buddha refuge take, 
They shall not go to woeful doom. 
When they put off this human frame 
They shall fill up the hosts in heaven.^ 

This idea of extension is elaborated in painting as well as in poetry, and 
zealous fancy plays a great role in broadening the communion of the saints. 
Buddha occupies, as a matter of course, the central position in the extended 
community, surrounded by men and gods in the midst of terrestrial beauty 
and heavenly glories.^ Beside the celestial deities who descended from the 
height of the Brahmanic pantheon, there appear the supernal, semi- 
human beings called Bodhisattva, or Beings of Enlightenment, and also 
various spiritual manifestations of Buddha himself. The Bodhisattva are 
considered in the mythology to be those who are striving for a full realiza- 
tion of the universal communion of Buddhist ideals by taking vows to 
practice great virtues and to persuade others to the same morality. They 
are represented in art as beautiful human figures, with bright eyes, rosy 
cheeks, and long, waving hair. On their heads are golden crowns; their 
breasts and arms are decorated with garlands; and fine veils float down- 
ward from their shoulders. They surround Buddha and add to the glories 
of the assemblage. 

The Greater Vehicle has its metaphysics and moral theories, but these I 
must leave out of consideration. As a development of beliefs on the lines 
of poetic imagination, — a further pursuance of the broadening commun- 
ion and of the aspiration for its realization in various directions, — the 
Mahdydna was a tremendous force to inspire the artistic sense of the 
Buddhists and, in return, was largely influenced by that sense. Books 
setting forth the ideas and faith of this branch of Buddhism are written in 
flowery style, with high flights of imagination, allegories, similes, parables, 
visions, and apocalyptic scenes. They are, to leave untouched the meta- 
physical doctrines preached in them, descriptions in words of the pic- 

1 Rhys Davids, The Dialogues of the Buddha, vol. ii, pp. 28/i-85. 

2 This glorification of Buddha in a mythical way is closely connected with the metaphysical conception 
of his person as identified with the ultimate entity of Truth (Dharmata). This conception may best be 
compared to the identification of Christ with the Logos in the Johannine Gospel. 


Detail from the Wall-Paintings in the Golden Hall of Horyu-ji 


Detail from the Wall-Paintings in the Golden Hall 
of horyu-ji 

Japanese, Wado Period, circa a.d. 710 

This particuleir group occupies a position immediately to 
the left of the figure of Buddha, whose knee and elbow may 
be seen at the extreme right of the picture. The close simi- 
larity of this art to that of the T' ang period in China is very 
striking. Compare Plate VI. 

Painted in colors. 


tures representing the glorious assembly of celestial and human beings 
around Buddha, and they served to stimulate afresh the expression in 
color and form of the scenes they described. For this reason, pictures 
representing the vast community of the Buddhist faith in a resplendent 
combination of figures are called mandala, or cycles delineating what is 
described in the books. 

To illustrate painting of this kind, I take first the mural decorations in 
the Golden Hall of Horyii-ji ^ (Plate V), dating from the early eighth cen- 
tury. The principal pictures represent the various paradises, the so-called 
Buddha-lands, in which the respective Buddhas reside as the lords who re- 
ceive the believers into their realms. The whole scene is full of resplendent 
colors; the clouds, flowers, celestial beings and human beings illuminated by 
the rays emitted from Buddha's body. The central figure, the Lord Buddha, 
is seated in a dignified posture immersed in deep contemplation, or blessing 
men and inducing them into his communion. The saints standing in front, 
including deities, Bodhisattva and monastic disciples, join their hands in 
adoration of the Lord. Their faces are full of the expression of piety, and 
their postures show that they are united in heart with the Lord and with 
their fellows. The glorious colors are now somewhat faded, but the origi- 
nal conception and composition are splendidly preserved, and the tender 
expression of lines and curves testifies to the high achievement of the artist. 

These representations of the Buddha-lands on the walls of H5ryii-ji 
illustrate the scenes as they are described in various books ; and in order to 
understand the intention and scheme of similar pictures it is desirable to 
know the written descriptions, just as it is convenient to refer to the pic- 
tures in order to appreciate fully the style of the books. For this purpose 
I take here the most important of the Mahay ana scriptures, the " Lotus of 
the Perfect Truth," or Sad-dharma-pundarika^ The lotus is a symbol of 
purity and perfection because it grows out of mud but is not defiled, — 
just as Buddha is born into the world but lives above the world; and 
because its fruits are said to be ripe when the flower blooms, — just as 

' A monastery near Nara, Japan, built a.d. 698-607. 

' Japanese, Hokke-kyo. E. Burnouf's French translation is entitled Le Lotus de la Bonne Loi. See also 
the Sacred Books of the East, vol. 21. 


the truth preached by Buddha bears immediately the fruit of enhghten- 
ment. Buddha, according to the Lotus, is Lord of the world, the Father of 
all beings, the Master of all the enlightened, and his personality is identical 
with the eternal Truth which manifests itself as the phenomena of the 
visible universe. He is as well the ultimate source of our existence and of 
all our thoughts and ideas. This eternal Lord has appeared among men as 
a human being for the sole purpose of realizing the spiritual lotus of truth 
in the lives of all sentient beings, and to this end he teaches them and 
brings them to maturity in accordance with their respective needs and 
capabilities. Just as one and the same water of rain nourishes innumerable 
plants and grasses enabling each of them to develop its characteristic fea- 
tures, so the same truth revealed by Buddha makes the lotus flower of 
every man's spirit bloom and bear the fruits of moral life in the communion 
of enlightened souls. 

In order further to insure the progress of his saving and enlightening 
work, Buddha manifests a vision of a heavenly shrine in which the eternal 
Truth is deposited, and summons all his disciples to adore the stupa and to 
take the vow of allegiance to the Truth. The scene of this apocalyptic 
vision is peopled also by hosts of innumerable saints who come out of 
fissures in the earth and sing in unison their adoration of Buddha and of 
his teachings. They take a solemn oath to observe the Master's precepts 
and to perpetuate his religion by modelling their lives on those of the saints 
who care for the spiritual welfare of all. The narrations reach their climax 
when Buddha reveals the real entity of his eternal life and promises to 
appear before those who will lead lives of sanctity, and to realize, in the 
communion of saints, the Kingdom of Buddha on earth. In short this book 
represents the highest flight of Buddhist idealism and the most eager 
aspiration for the realization of the all-embracing Sole Road. 

It is no wonder that the Lotus of Truth, a grand religious poem in itself, 
gave great impetus to Buddhist art and poetry. The apparition of the 
heavenly shrine, the hosts of the sanctified adoring Buddha, the stories of 
miracles wrought by saints in the name of salvation, — these and other 
topics were painted ceaselessly in a variety of scenes and compositions. 


The Hokke Mandala 


The HoKKfi Mandala 

Artist unknown 

Chinese, Middle Ninth Century 

In the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 

An inscription on the back of the painting says: "The 
chief mandala of the Hokke-do. This mandala is a repre- 
sentation of the sacred mountain, and is a real product of 
India. And whereas the parts below the seat of Sakya had all 
been destroyed, owing, perhaps, to natural decay, or to muti- 
lation by people (for relics), and the picture having passed 
through unknown ages in that state, now therefore, in March, 
the 4th year of Kyuan (ii48), we have allowed Chinkei, Iko- 
Daihoshi (clerical title), a monk of this temple to repair it. 
This is because of his skill in painting which he has inherited 
from his ancestors. We inscribe these particulars in order 
that posterity may not be misled. Kanshin, Betto-Honmu 
(Director of Temple Affairs), Gon-Dai-s5j5 (Junior Arch- 
bishop)." Kanshin (io84-ii53) held office at Todai-ji, the 
temple to which the Hokke-d5 belonged. 

The picture, an important example of T'ang painting, 
shows to a meu-ked degree the Indian influence which was 
predominant in China during the seventh, eighth and ninth 
centuries, and in this respect may be compared with the 
paintings more recently found at Tun-huang. It is also a 
most interesting illustration of the landscape style developed 
by artists of the T'ang dynasty. 

Painted in colors on silk and mounted as a panel. 





By Kano H5GAI {died 1888) 
Japanese, Kano School 

In the Imperial Art School, Tokyo 

The deity is shown here as Hibo Kwannon, the Compas- 
sionate Mother. 


Among the Bodhisattva or saints mentioned in this book, the most popu- 
lar is Kwannon,^ who is worshipped as the goddess of mercy. Taking the 
plastic representations of this deity alone, a long history of art may be 
written. But I must here confine myself to two pictures, one representing 
the opening scenes of the book and the other Kwannon. 

The first one, the Hokke Mandala (Plate VI), is an old Chinese painting, 
probably of the middle ninth century, and represents Buddha immersed 
in deep contemplation just before he revealed the whole truth of the 
Lotus (Hokke). The scene is the Vulture Peak, one of his favorite resorts ;2 
trees grow on the mountain-side, some of them flowering in white or red. 
The left side of the picture opens in a gorge stretching far into the distance, 
Buddha, wearing red robes, is seated in the centre in the posture of con- 
templation, and several saints sit beside him as representatives of the 
human and celestial beings who adore him. The utmost tranquillity pre- 
vails throughout the landscape, and the figures are in dignified composure ; 
but it is implied that marvels are soon to take place and that in the light of 
the coming revelation the whole scene is to be transfigured into one of 
resplendent glory. Looking upon this picture we can imagine with what 
ardor the artist must have painted, and what an amount of piety and 
enthusiasm his work must have inspired while it hung, during more than a 
thousand years, on the walls of the Hokke-d5.^ The picture, even apart 
from its suggestions and implications, is a great achievement of artistic 
genius in the grandeur of its composition, the dignity of the figures, and 
the harmonious combination of colors. 

The second example (Plate VII) is a modern Japanese painting, the chief 
work of the unique genius of Kano H5gai.^ The work was finished soon 
before his death and he had no time to add his signature, as if his life ended 
when its labor was accomplished. The picture is preserved, together with 
his numerous preliminary sketches and previous attempts, in the Art 

' Sanskrit, Avalokitesvara; Chinese, Kuan Yin. Concerning this deity, see further chapters iii and iv. 

2 Among the followers of the Lotus of Truth, the name Vulture Peak always suggests a paradise, 
because Buddha declares in the book that the place where he or his faithful disciples live and preach the 
Truth is the indestructible Land of Treasures. 

' Of this temple, near the Central Cathedral in Nara, I shall speak in the second chapter. 

4 Died i888. 


School of T5ky5. His conception was the inexhaustible love of Kwannon, 
the Mother of All, who is sending her offspring from the realm of light and 
purity down to the world of sorrows and tribulations. She stands in the 
midst of golden illumination and resplendent clouds. Her left hand carries 
a tiny branch of willow, a symbol of meekness, and from the flask held in 
her right hand falls a drop of water, the water of wisdom, which forms a 
transparent globe containing a baby. The child looks back in gratitude or 
in farewell towards the mother above, his lovely hands joined in adoration. 
The place where the baby is destined to be born is the world of dark clouds 
among which rugged peaks are seen. The love of the mother, a virgin 
mother of heavenly dignity, is a pure maternal love, but it exhibits a depth 
of tragic compassion. She knows the toils her baby is going to encounter 
in the world below, but she is resolute in sending him there and sure that 
he will confront heroically the troubles of human life, and carry among 
mankind the love and wisdom of his mother by emulating the spirit of 
Buddha's saints. 

Whether the heavenly light can penetrate the realm of dark clouds, 
whether the baby can perform his mission among the rugged precipices and 
rocks of life, are questions which may arise in the minds of those who look 
at the picture. But the artist was sure that the miracle is being accom- 
plished even now and by ourselves ; for the assurance given by Buddha as 
to the future of his religion is not vain, if we in our lives follow the love and 
wisdom of our Mother in Heaven. 



The Buddhist gospel of an all-embracing spiritual communion which 
could be realized in human life, was preached to the East and West, imbu- 
ing its converts everywhere with an aspiration for universal communion. 
Peoples whose mental gaze had reached hardly beyond tribal or national 
limits were taught that individual life should be regarded as inseparable 
from communal life, that man's true happiness should be sought, not in 
the fulfilment of selfish ambitions, but in fellowship with all celestial and 
terrestrial existences. These teachings, formulated in doctrines, practised 
in conduct and expressed in art, exercised a great influence also upon the 
political ideals of nations, by convincing government leaders that the state 
should be not merely a political organization of might and right, but an 
institution for the advancement of spiritual harmony and moral edifica- 
tion among the people as a unified body. Let me, however, omit any further 
account of these developments on the continent of Asia, and pass at once 
to Japan, where the influence of Buddhist ideals was so conspicuously 
shown in the close connection between religious faith, state organization 
and artistic achievement. 

It was in 538 a.d.^ that Buddhism made its official entrance into Japan 
through a message presented to the Japanese Court by the King of 
Pekche,^ a principality of Korea. The message said: "This teaching 
(dharma) is the most excellent of all teachings; it brings endless and 
immeasurable blessings to all believers, even unto attainment of the 
Enlightenment (Bodhi) without comparison. Moreover, it has come to 
Korea from far-off India, and the peoples of the countries lying between 
are now zealous followers of it and none is outside the pale." These words, 
accompanied by Buddhist scriptures, a fine statue and other exquisite 
works of art, were, to many, a marvellous revelation, seeming to come as if 

1 The date usually given is 552. ^ Japanese, Kudara. 


in response to the necessity for a religion which could give the people some 
higher ideal than the worship of local gods. 

At this time the government was endeavoring to achieve a measure of 
centralization, and among the leaders of this movement the new religion 
secured many advocates. But it was not until the end of the century, 
under the nominal reign of the Empress Suiko, that Buddhism, after years 
of varying fortune, found in the person of the Prince-Regent Shotoku — 
the Holy Virtuous — a thinker and statesman who fully grasped the ideal 
of spiritual communion. His regency (598-622) marked an epoch in the 
rise of Japanese civilization. In his "Constitution," issued in 6o4, he pro- 
claimed, as fundamental principles, that harmony should be the basis of 
state organization, and that faith in the Three Treasures of the Buddhist 
religion ^ should be the foundation of national and individual life. Besides 
effecting these far-reaching political reforms, he established numerous 
temples which became the centres of learning, artistic activity, music and 
charity, and in all these undertakings his ambition, as organizer and 
patron, was to foster the Buddhist ideal of universal communion in daily 
practice, and thus to realize a true union of state and religion. He himself 
was a philosopher of keen insight as well as a devout Buddhist of profound 
piety, and we may be sure that his religious politics were not a mere 
expedient, nor his artistic taste a mere sestheticism. As a far-sighted states- 
man he worked for the nation's unity and welfare in both its secular and 
spiritual aspects, seeking expression for the aim of state organization in 
the achievements of Buddhist institutions and in the promotion of Bud- 
dhist art. Without his guidance Buddhism could never have become so 
rapidly the vital factor of national life, and without his inspiring patronage 
Buddhist art could hardly have flourished so successfully among his 
countrymen. It is, therefore, quite natural that he is, even now, revered 
as the founder of Buddhism in Japan and also as the patron saint of 
artists. 2 

The most conspicuous manifestation of the Prince's ideal may be seen 

* See above, page 5. 

2 In the Art School of Tokyo there is a shrine dedicated to him, and the artists celebrate every year the 
anniversary of his death, the twenty-second of February. 


in Buddhist architecture. The temple of his time was a composite of 
many buildings. The principal edifice was the Golden Hall; about it 
stood a meeting-hall, two meditation halls for summer and winter re- 
spectively, a drum-tower, a bell-tower and one or two five-storied 
pagodas. A long gallery enclosed all these, and in the southern side of 
the gallery stood prominently a two-storied gateway. This general plan 
symbolized the communion of saints around the central Buddha, and 
the effect was imposing.^ Within the Golden Hall was a platform or dais, 
about four feet high, representing the cosmos. In the centre of this plat- 
form stood a statue of Buddha together with statues of his attendants, 
and its corners were guarded by the four Guardian Kings, protectors of 
the religion and its believers. Pillars supported a complicated overhead 
structure in which were empanelled groups of angels holding various 
musical instruments in their hands and hovering among clouds. The sur- 
rounding walls were frescoed with pictures of Buddha's paradise and of 
his saints; and the ceiling, painted in various designs, was hung with 
pendants of silk or of decorated metal plaques intended to suggest the 
glories of heaven. Worship was performed in front of the central statue, 
and processions marched around the platform or along the gallery to the 
accompaniment of music. 

These temples, however, were places not only of worship but also of 
learning, where philosophy and music were taught, and moral discipline 
was inculcated. Moreover, charitable institutions, such as hospitals, 
infirmaries, and dispensaries, were attached to them, as means of putting 
the Buddhist ideal of universal love into actual practice. The whole foun- 
dation thus served as a focus of the Buddhist religion, morality and art 
which now became integral parts of the national life. 

Among many temples founded by Prince Sh5toku a few remain in the 
original edifices, while others, rebuilt after fires, preserve only the original 

1 Professor Edward S. Morse, in his Japanese Homes and their Surroundings (New York, i885), says 
(p. 46) : "There is something trtdy majestic in the appearance of the broad and massive temples, with the 
grand upward sweep of their heavily-tiled roofs and deep-shaded eaves, with intricate maze of supports 
and carvings beneath; the whole sustained on colossal round posts locked and tied together by equally 
massive timbers." To this remark I may add that in the architecture of the seventh and eighth centuries 
the combined effect of the group of buildings as described above played a greater part thtm in any of the 
following periods. 


plans. Of these two classes, H6ryu-ji, near Nara, and Tenno-ji, in Osaka, 
may be taken as respective examples. The former (Plate VIII A) has stood 
since the beginning of the seventh century. It was built for a college of 
Buddhist philosophy, and is, in regard to both architecture and contents, 
the most precious relic of early Buddhist art. The latter, which has passed 
through alternate periods of decay and renovation, is essentially the same, 
in design and in the varied uses of its buildings, as the type already de- 
scribed, but the purpose of the foundation is worthy of special notice. 
Although the temple now stands on a hillside far from the sea, it was origi- 
nally situated on the water-front of the port leading to the capital of that 
time. This site was chosen by the Prince, in order that foreign envoys and 
missionaries might be welcomed, at their landing, through the gateway of 
Buddhist conamunion into the sanctuary of worship. We of to-day, 
familiar with the bustle of a modern customs service, may at least try to 
imagine how these travellers of long ago, after their tedious sea journey, 
stepped into the Land of Sunrise, and, accompanied by processions and 
music, were ushered into the group of beautiful edifices. Surely this foun- 
dation alone amply testifies to the high ideals of the Prince and to the 
grandeur of his achievement. 

The seventh century was a period of rapid advance in Japanese civiliza- 
tion. National unity resulted in the establishment of a firm Imperial 
regime, and Buddhism manifested its vigor in moral, social and artistic 
activities. This progress culminated in the glory of the era of Tempyd 
(729-749), or Heavenly Peace, in which the ideal of a true union between 
Church and State reached its mature expression; and art, especially archi- 
tecture and sculpture, became more a manifestation of national impulse 
than a product of individual initiative. Buddhism worked for the benefit 
of the state, for the security of the Throne, for the weal of the people ; and 
the state, in turn, was dedicated to the Buddhist cause, that is, to a reali- 
zation of the ideal communion in and through the actual life of the nation. 
Government, court nobles and people alike contributed to the religion and 
its art. Each household had its family sanctuary, every province built its 


(A) The Golden Hall, Gateway, and Pagoda of H5ryu-ji 

(B) West Front of the Hokke-do of T5dai-ji, Nara 


A. The Golden Hall, Gateway and Pagoda of H6ryu-ji 
Seen from the Meeting Hall, looking South 

The temple is known to have been founded eeirly in the 
seventh century, 606-6 13, but there is still some disagreement 
as to whether the present buildings date from that time or are 
reconstructions erected after a fire which occurred in 670. 
Most architects beUeve the existing structures to be the origi- 
nals, though the four carved pillars supporting the upper roof 
of the Golden Hall were added in the seventeenth century, 
and the shed roofs protecting the lower parts of the Golden 
Hall and of the Pagoda are also later additions. 

B. West Front of the Hokke-d6 of Todai-ji, Nara 

Founded as the Konsho-ji in 788, but later (circa 762) 
absorbed by the great monastery of T6dai-ji, and thereafter 
known as the Hokke-do. The present asymmetry of the roof 
is due to the addition of the haU of devotion in the Kamakura 
period, emd the whole edifice has been recently repaired. 



Two OF THE Four Guardian Kings 


Two OF THE Four Guardian Kings 
Japanese, Eighth Century 

» In the Kaidan-in of Todai-ji, Nana 

A. KoMOKU-TEN (Sanskrit, Vimpaksa), the Far-Gazer, 
GuEirdicin of the West. 

B. Zocho-ten (Sanskrit, Fi>urf/«a^a), the Lord of Growth, 
Guardian of the South. 

The other two Guardian Kings are: Jikoku-ten (Sanskrit, 
Dhrtarastra) , the Land-Bearer, Guardian of the East, and 
Tamon-ten (Sanskrit, Vaisravana), the Well-Famed, Guar- 
dian of the North. 


own Cathedral, and in the capital, at Nara, a Central Cathedral 
was erected (748-752), the consummate expression of the splendor of 

This Cathedral, known as Todai-ji, was dedicated to the Buddha 
Vairochana,^ or "Illuminator," whose colossal bronze statue occupies the 
central position. Originally there were two seven-storied pagodas in front 
of the main building, which was further surrounded by many smaller 
temples and shrines, dedicated to various saints and each containing a 
cosmic platform adorned with numerous statues massed around a central 
figure. Fortunately one of these minor edifices, the Hokke-d5 (Plate VIII B) , 
in which the Hokke Mandala of this Museum was deposited, stands 
almost intact; and another, the Kaidan-in, or sanctuary for initiation into 
Buddhist mystery, is preserved in its original plan. The group of these 
larger and smaller buildings, situated on the gentle slope of the Kasuga 
hills and surrounded by giant trees, exhibits a synthetic beauty of art and 
nature designed to embody the glory of the Kingdom of Buddha, and at 
the same time to symbolize the monarchic constitution of the state sup- 
ported by unity of religious faith and moral ideals. 

Thus the sculpture and architecture of Tempyo, neither of which has 
ever been excelled in grandeur and perfection by later ages, were integral 
parts of Buddhism ; but it is in sculpture — in the expression of individual- 
ity and in the composition of groups — that the power of Buddhist inspira- 
tion is most clearly shown. The group in Buddhist sculpture is not, how- 
ever, an inseparable composition as in Greek art, but simply an array of 
single statues enclosed within the railings of the cosmic platform, the 
whole representing an assembly of the saints around the Universal Lord. 
Various qualities and attributes are manifest in the dignified postures and 
vivid expressions of the individual figures, while their joint adoration of 
Buddha is brought out by the grouping; and to this must be added the 
imposing magnitude of the statues, of which the smallest is not less than 
life-size. Here, in the sculpture of Tempyo, we discern the final result of 
the union of Buddhist ideals with Greek genius; and here, too, the tangible 

1 So called in Sanskrit; in Japanese, Birushana or Rushana, 


embodiment of Buddhist teachings attained its perfection in the happiest 
harmony of ideahstic conception and reahstic execution. 

The great bronze Buddha of T5dai-ji is over sixty feet high including the 
lotus pedestal. Its head and right shoulder were destroyed in repeated fires 
and replaced by rather poor substitutes, but in the lower part of the body 
and especially in the lotus pedestal we can see the beauty and grandeur of 
the original. Buddha is seated in the dignified posture in which he preaches 
the cosmic truths ceaselessly and eternally. Behind him rises an aureola of 
overlapping double circles composed of resplendent flames in which nu- 
merous apparitions of Buddhahood are seen, and beneath him is a gigantic 
lotus seat symbolizing the cosmos. The petals of this huge flower 
represent various countries, and on each of them are engraved figures of 
saints and angels who have come together there to adore the Buddha, 
Lord of the Universe, and to propagate the truth among people of all lands 
and times. Their attitudes, robes, crowns and emblems indicate their 
respective virtues as well as the various missions they are destined to fulfil 
for the sake of men. In short, the whole statue, like the temple of which it 
forms the central feature, is a representation of the cosmic spirit and a 
visible embodiment of the communion of all beings enlightened by 
Buddha's wisdom. 

More realistic and more specialized in motive are the life-size figures of 
the four Guardian Kings which stand at the corners of the cosmic platform 
in the Kaidan-in, or Hall of Initiation. The two reproduced in Plate IX (A 
& B) may, perhaps, sufficiently illustrate the characteristic qualities of these 
four statues, whose expressions are similar though their postures diff'er. 
They stand — each on the prostrate body of an evil demon — alert and 
ready to ward off all vices and wickedness which might threaten the men 
of faith and the countries where righteousness prevails. One grasps a 
sword; another a spear; another upholds a shrine, the repository of truth; 
and in the powerful muscular tension of face, body and limbs, the invinci- 
ble will and tireless energy of each are vigorously portrayed. 

Quite different in feeling are two heroic statues which stand beside the 
central Buddha on the cosmic platform of the Hokke-d5, a chapel dedicated 


to the propagation of the True Law. These figures represent two celestial 
lords, Indra, ruler of kings and warriors, and Brahma, king of the heavenly 
hosts, the highest deities of the Hindu pantheon, who are said to have come 
down from their abodes in heaven and paid homage to Buddha by partici- 
pating in the assembly of his followers. One of them, Brahma,^ is repro- 
duced in Plate X, and the point to be noted is the realistic execution of the 
sculpture. It is ruled by no convention. The figure is simply a human 
being of perfect proportions, wearing robes and a headdress such as might 
have been worn by the nobility of India or China ; yet the dignified pres- 
ence and the noble face are evidence enough that the man here represented 
must be a heavenly or kingly person. His gesture is a simple joining of 
hands ; yet no one can mistake the intention of that gesture or fail to see 
the devotion of heart expressed in his attitude. Here a god is made man; 
and this was not a mere flight of imagination but a typical representation 
of the faith of that time. Indeed these two statues were made after the 
model — in spirit, though not in form — of the Emperor Shomu who 
erected the Central Cathedral. The Sovereign of that time, who was 
believed to be almost a divine being, paid homage to the personal repre- 
sentative of the cosmic truth, and this was the inspiration from which 
the artist ^ derived his conception of the statues. 

In the year 7/19, on the occasion of a thanksgiving, the Emperor, 
Empress-consort and Crown Princess, attended by hundreds and thou- 
sands of the court nobles, ladies, retainers and priests, proceeded from the 
palace to the Central Cathedral, where services were held, and the Sover- 
eign bowed before the Great Buddha, declaring himself to be the servant 
of the Three Treasures. This was, perhaps, the most magnificent religious 
observance which has ever taken place in Japan,^ and it is easy to imagine 
what a solemn grandeur of ceremony must have been possible in the 
presence of these statues, amid the elaborate surroundings of a gigantic 

' Japanese, Bonlen. 2 Probably the Abbot Roben, Advisor to the Emperor. 

' What remains of the apparatus and instruments used on that occasion is preserved at Nara in the 
Imperial Magazine, called Shoso-in, close to the Cathedral. Among the treasures stored there is a marble 
relief in Byzantine style and a picture of a lady in old Persian robes, showing the contact of Japan 
with the world through Buddhism. All of the treasures are reproduced and described in Toyei-shuko, 
Tokyo, 1908. 


temple; for Buddhist rituals are gorgeous with candlelight, incense, 
flowers, music, processions and litanies, all artistically combined. But, in 
any case, the full significance of Buddhist art cannot be appreciated apeo't 
from the rituals. A statue, however beautiful in itself, if seated desolate, or 
crowded among others in a museum, is only a caput mortuum of an organic 
body ; ^ and a temple thrown open to the curiosity of visitors is but a de- 
serted house devoid of life. The real beauty of a Gothic cathedral cannot 
be entirely dissociated from incense, lights and church music; nor is it 
otherwise with Buddhist architecture and sculpture. They help to com- 
plete a synthesis of beauty corresponding to the ideal of universal com- 

Now, leaving the eighth century and the glory of Tempyo art, let us 
pass over the next two hundred years and take up another manifestation 
of the ideal of communion which first appeared in Japan during the tenth 
century. Union of state and religion and the manifestation thereof in art 
had, meanwhile, continued to develop, although in the ninth century a 
new turn was given by the importation from China of the Shingon sect of 
Buddhism, with which I shall deal in the next chapter. The tenth century 
was a period in which the corruption of the priesthood began to evince 
itself, but beneath such developments at the surface there was streaming 
already an undercurrent of faith in Amita,^ the Buddha of Infinite Life 
and Light, whose story is told in one of the Mahdydna books, — the 
Sukhdvati-vyuhd, or "Description of the Land of Bliss." This Buddha is 
believed to have taken a vow to save all beings and to prepare for them, 
far in the West, a paradise, realized by him through long training and the 
accumulation of innumerable merits, whither any one who believes in his 
mercy and invokes his name shall be taken, even from this life, — there 
to participate in the communion of the Saints. This new phase in the 
development of Buddhist faith was a religion of personal devotion and 

1 The architectural design and the grouping of statues in Gallery no. 5 of the Department of Chinese 
and Japanese Art are intended to lessen the inherent defects of Museum exhibition. 

^ So in Sanskrit, the full name being Amitdbha, "Infinite Light," or Amilayus, "Infinite Life." In 
Japan the name is commonly pronounced Amida. 


Brahma, King of the Heavenly Hosts 


Brahma, King of the Heavenly Hosts 
Japanese, Eighth Century 
In the Hokke-do of Todai-ji, Nara 

Dry lacquer sculpture. 


salvation by mercy, and was cherished by pious monks in the course of the 
tenth century. Toward the end of the eleventh century it had come to the 
front, and its full rise may be dated in the second half of the twelfth cen- 
tury, since which time it has continued to be the most influential factor of 
Japanese Buddhism. 

Belief in a merciful Deity and his paradise has always acted as a powerful 
incentive to artistic expression. Thus the Buddha Amita, of illumined 
body, sitting with his saints in the midst of celestial trees and flowers, or 
appearing in visions to the pious, or coming, attended by the heavenly 
hosts, to receive the dying; and the bliss of those who were reborn in his 
realms and now adore the merciful Lord from their seats in the resplendent 
lotus flowers,^ — these scenes furnished splendid materials to the activity 
of artists. Here the conception of spiritual communion was not essentially 
different from that of former ages, but the personal appearance of 
Buddha and concrete descriptions of his paradise became more commonly 
the themes of painting, with freer composition and more variegated color- 
ing. It is also to be noticed that the Japanese genius worked, in these pic- 
tures, to soften the curves, to refine the colors, and to make the facial 
expression of the figures more human and tender. 

The most precious specimens of this category are the mural decorations 
in the Phoenix Hall of Byodo-in near Kyoto, and two triptychs sometimes 
attributed to Eshin.2 The Phoenix Hall, a chapel of a nobleman, was fin- 
ished in io53, and the paintings on the walls and door- wings were executed 
by Tamenari, a master of the Takuma school. One of them represents 
Amita Buddha seated amid the saints and glories of his paradise. Illumin- 
ing rays emanate from his eyes and extend downward to a building which 
is, perhaps, meant to be the palace of the noble who dedicated the chapel 
to the Buddha Amita. Unfortunately the painting is much defaced, but 
it still retains something of its original splendor of color and composition. 

The two triptychs are said to be the work of Eshin, a learned and pious 
monk, who described in a book the miseries of inferior births and the 
glories of the Land of Bliss. In the verbal delineation of those visionary 

1 For these descriptions, see the Sacred Books of the East, vol. Ag, part ii, pp. 91-98. 

2 Genshin, better known as Eshin or the Abbot of Eshin monastery ((9/42-1017). 


scenes his talent may be compared with that of Dante; but he was, in 
addition, a great master of painting, so rich in colors, quiet in tone, free in 
composition and soaring in conception, that he may be called the Fra 
Angelico of Japan. One of these works here reproduced (Plate XI) shows 
the Buddha Amita coming to receive a believer. The dignity of the central 
figure, the variety in posture of the saints playing on musical instruments, 
the softness of the variegated clouds, and the charming glimpse of a land- 
scape below, display most inspiringly his artistic genius and religious 
fervor. The other Amita picture (Plate I, Frontispiece) represents 
Buddha accompanied by two attendant Bodhisattva,^ appearing over a 
hill range. The contrast between the golden radiance of the three heav- 
enly persons and the fresh green of hills and trees; the harmony of the 
divine composure with the serenity of nature, suggestive of the mercy of 
Buddha pervading the light of a tranquil morning, — these are expres- 
sions of the monk's inspired vision. A hymn of the same century sings: — 

Ah! pity 't is, we cannot see the Buddha face to face, 
Though He is present always, everywhere. 
And yet, perchance, as in a vision. He will come to us 
In the calm morning hour, when no man stirs. 

Such visions Eshin was the first to paint, and he did it with the breadth 
and dexterity of a master. 

Throughout the eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth centuries this gentle 
and beautiful art kept pace with the spread of Amita worship. Vigor gave 
place to meekness, sweet harmony became more conspicuous than virile 
inspiration, and the artists worked in ecstasies of tender piety and self- 
forgetting devotion. The results are seen in the majestic serenity of the 
Great Buddha of Kamakura (Plate XII), in the charming statues of 
Amita and his attendants (Plate XIII), and in many dehcate pictures in 
this Museum. 

Another, but contemporary, manifestation of this faith is apparent in 
the long scroll-paintings which are so closely connected with the genre 

1 Kwannon (Sanskrit, Avalokiteivara) and Seishi (Sanskrit, Maha-Sthdnaprdpla). 


Amita Buddha and Twenty-five Bodhisattva. By Eshin Sozu Genshin 


Amita Buddha and twenty-five Bodhisattva 

By Eshin Sozu Genshin 

Japanese, 942-1017 

Owned by Koyasan Monastery, 
and now deposited in the Imperial Museum, Tokyo 

The Buddha and his attendants are shown welcoming the 
souls of the faithful to Paradise. 



The Great Amita Buddha at Kamakura 


The Great Amita Buddha at Kamakura 
Japanese, Middle Thirteenth Century 

Bronze casting. 


The Amita Triad 

















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painting of tlie period. The touches of landscape in Eshin's pictures and 
the scenes ^ of transmigration described in his writings, were significant. 
The changes in Buddhist art begun by the pious monk heralded a gradual 
deviation from the iconographic rules exemplified in Buddhist figures 
brought over from Asia,^ and this process was accelerated by the combined 
influence of the nature-mysticism associated with Amita-Buddhism and 
the pictorial representation of various events associated with the life his- 
tories of religious leaders. The result was a religiously inspired genre 
painting which became a prominent factor of Japanese Buddhist art in the 
twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Scenes such as the appearance of the 
Buddha Amita before some pious man, the falling of heavenly flowers on 
the occasion of a virtuous monk's sermon, or a pathetic conversion among 
the court ladies, were represented; and side by side with the bliss of para- 
dise, the miseries of the doomed or of ghostly existences were depicted. 
In paintings of this kind the activities of human life, together with their 
backgrounds of houses and gardens, hills and trees, were regarded simply 
as one aspect of the whole realm of transmigration, — a stage in spiritual 
communion, a scene of the manifestation of Buddha's mercy. 

This brief description may serve to show in what sense Eshin was the 
pioneer of both the religion and the art of the thirteenth century. But a 
great distinction between his work and its subsequent development con- 
sists in the later practice of using long, horizontal scrolls, on which the 
scenes were delineated in series. This is only a difference in technique, 
but it had a wide bearing in modifying the use of the pictures. A painting 
of Buddha and his saints, whether on a vertical, hanging scroll ^ or on a 
panel, was intended primarily for more or less general worship ; while the 
pictures executed on horizontal scrolls ^ served better the ends of privacy 
and narration. This does not mean that the altar piece gave way entirely 
to the long scroll, nor that the genre painters worked with less piety than 

^ Actually depicted in paintings attributed to Kose no Hirotaka, a contemporary of Eshin. The pic- 
tures are in Raiko-ji, near Otsu. 

- See chapter iii. ' Japanese, kakemono. 

* Japanese, makimono. Perhaps an intermediate stage in the transition from kakemono to makimono 
is represented by the pictures of the resorts of transmigration, attributed to Hirotaka. They are in the 
form of kakemono, b'lt the scenes are arranged in horizontEiI registers. 


the painters of altar pieces. In many cases one and the same artist worked 
on both kinds of painting and the illustrations of the saints' lives were 
respected almost to the point of worship. Yet this change in treatment was 
destined to promote the infiltration of secular motives and the mediaeval 
religious genre became the forerunner of the modern genre of totally pro- 
fane intention. After all, the freedom of composition, the softly graded 
color range and the diversity of scenes which characterize the rise of the 
Buddhist genre, were all concomitant with the popularization of religious 
teachings in the thirteenth century and after. 

Viewed by such light as I have been able to shed on the subject, it is 
clear that the beauty of Buddhist art was, for the most part, founded on 
the ideal of spiritual communion, whether in this world or in a heavenly 
realm. This ideal it was that gave to Buddhism the power of expansion 
beyond the boundaries of nations, fired its adherents with missionary zeal, 
and inspired the imagination of its artists and poets. One who can appre- 
ciate this ideal will understand Buddhist art, and will discover in the hearts 
of the Japanese a tone of tenderness and a depth of sympathy which are 
the essential conditions of artistic creation and enjoyment. 



Having seen how the Buddhist ideal of communion developed in various 
special directions and gave rise to corresponding manifestations in art, 
let us now turn back to the ninth century and examine a form of Buddhism 
which found expression in an extremely comprehensive and striking combi- 
nation of spiritual ideals and material embodiment, of speculative thought 
and mystic ritual, and in a union of the Buddhist, Hindu, Persian, Chinese 
and Japanese pantheons into one cycle centred in Buddha. The Japanese 
name of this Buddhism is Shingon,^ or the True Word, and it may be 
designated as a synthetic or symbolic Buddhism. It views the universe 
as a cosmotheism, or, more explicitly, it defines the total cosmos as Divin- 
ity, whereof particular features may, for certain purposes, be assembled 
under the forms of separate deities ; and its art was an attempt to represent 
these innumerable deities, saints, demons, angels and other ultra-human 
beings embodying the inexhaustible beauties, powers, activities and mys- 
teries, by means of pictures, statues, symbols and rites. In entering upon 
this subject we must — as if about to traverse a lofty mountain pass — 
be prepared to go among mists and clouds, to encounter ravines and 
glaciers ; we shall meet superb figures and beautiful scenery, but also awe- 
inspiring sights and forms which excite terror. 

The ideal of spiritual communion extended, as I have already indicated, 
not only to the celestial and animal existences but even further to the 
demoniac and non -sentient beings, and was destined to culminate in a 
world-view, according to which the universe is comprised in the Buddhist 
communion and constitutes the real entity of Buddhahood. Buddha is the 
perfect person who attained the life of all-embracing wisdom and love, 
thus identifying himself with the cosmos and all the lives in it. The final 
substratum of Buddhahood is, therefore, the cosmos, including its spiritual 

1 Sanskrit, Mantra; Chinese, Chen-yen. 


and material aspects, and Buddha is the Lord who rules it, not from above, 
but from within. His spirit is the cosmic soul which, like a seed, evolves 
out of itself all the phenomena of the universe. The cosmic life thus 
regarded as the enactment of the infinite communion ruled by Buddha, 
the Cosmic Soul, may be and must be grasped and experienced by the soul 
which lives the life not of an individual but of the whole communion ; and 
this soul, when it transcends the limit of selfish narrowness and individu- 
ality, can include all existences within its domain, and discover in itself the 
germs of all phenomena. This means also an expansion of individual life 
to the compass of the universe, by living in communion and participation 
with the cosmic life. The absorption of self into the world amounts to an 
identification of the microcosmos with the macrocosmos. 

This belief, formulated in general terms, is the fundamental ideal com- 
mon to nearly all branches of Buddhism ; and though Japanese Buddhism 
of the eighth century laid special emphasis on the union of the religious 
ideal with state organization, it was at bottom a cosmotheism and idealism 
of the same sort. The distinguishing feature of Shingon Buddhism was its 
embodiment of this cosmotheism in concrete forms and tangible mani- 
festations. Sweeping over Central Asia and China, and later reaching 
Japan at the beginning of the ninth century, it succeeded in absorbing 
the pantheons of these different peoples into its cosmotheistic domain and 
in uniting them with the central conception of a cosmic Lord, the Great 
Illuminator (Sanskrit, Mahd-Vairochana ; Japanese, Dai-nichi), a former 
title of Buddha which was now specified as a distinct personality. 

According to the tenets of this school, Buddha, the Cosmic Lord, is not 
a mere spirit. His body is the whole of material existence, and even a grain 
of dust partakes of his spiritual life and owes its existence to him. The 
world is a living organism, manifesting its life everywhere and endeavoring 
to attain full self-consciousness in every particle, — a view which Gustav 
Theodor Fechner taught in his "Zend-Avesta," one thousand years later. 
Moreover, just as we men live and act by the functions of thought, speech, 
and bodily motion, so the world and its components are living by these 
threefold activities. To use modern phrases, the energy of the cosmos is 


the world's thought, every sound is its speech, and every movement its 
bodily action. These activities are not merely external motions of the 
material world, but are growths out of a deeper foundation of life and are 
controlled by spiritual forces. Such inner meanings of the world's life can 
be comprehended by us and realized in our personal lives, when we identify 
ourselves with the cosmos. They are mysteries to the ordinary mind, but 
realities to those who have mastered the secrets and worked them out in life. 

How, then, can we realize these mysteries and thus commune with the 
cosmic hfe? Here the Shingon Buddhism offers us very recondite but prac- 
tical ideas and observances. The world is composed of the various groups 
of spiritual forces expressing themselves in the forms and behavior of ma- 
terial phenomena, each of which, according to Shingon teaching, may be 
regarded as a deity, with his or her special attributes, functions and inten- 
tions. The number of these deities, like the particles of the universe, can 
never be exhausted; nevertheless they do not constitute a mere aggregate, 
but are grouped in a definite system of classes and finally united in the 
cosmic person or spirit of the Great Illuminator. Thus the Shingon cosmo- 
theism is most keen in emphasizing both the diversity of qualities and 
powers, and their unity in the all-embracing Lord. 

Viewed in this way, the beings and things of the world exist in order to 
realize their participation in the omnipresent activities of the Lord, and to 
live, think and express themselves as He does. We human beings, fur- 
nished with body and mind, are a concrete manifestation of the whole 
cosmic structure, and are destined to represent the cosmic life in personal 
life ; but being shrouded in illusion and selfishness we have lost sight of the 
inner tie which unites us with the Great Illuminator, and of our real com- 
munion with other beings. It is, therefore, the purpose of Buddha in his 
innumerable manifestations as various deities and phenomena, to enlighten 
us in regard to our original kinship with him and in our destiny to restore 
it, so that we may achieve a full participation in the cosmic life. 

The special tenet of Shingon consists in showing us these educative 
activities of Buddha in concrete representations of his virtues and powers. 


This is done by visualizing in pictures, statues and rites the symboHc or 
anthropomorphic manifestations of Buddha and of the various deities 
which are his emanations. The Great Illuminator, for instance, is some- 
times represented as a golden Buddha sitting on a red or variegated lotus 
flower, his hands folded in the posture of profound contemplation; 
again, he appears as a Buddha perfectly white in body sitting on a 
white lotus and expressing in his joined hands his intention of revealing 
truths (Plate XIV). He is shown also in a formidable aspect sitting or 
standing, his whole person expressive of resentment and indignation. In 
this guise he is called the Immobile (Sanskrit, Achala; Japanese, Fudo), 
and his fierce eyes glare at every evil thought or base passion, while the 
sword and rope he holds signify his readiness to menace and restrain every 
sinful act (Plate XV). His powers may also be visualized by associating 
with his figure a number of other deities, each of whom embodies a certain 
attribute or intention of the Buddha. When, for example, he is surrounded 
by four other Buddhas, the arrangement is meant to signify that he is the 
kernel and fountain-head of indefatigable determination, inexhaustible 
blessings, spiritual enlightenment and endless adaptability, respectively 
represented by the persons of the surrounding four.^ And again each of 
these four may be represented in various forms and accompanied by sub- 
ordinate figures which convey their respective functions. 

The characteristics of these deities are represented chiefly by facial 
expression and bodily posture. But no less important roles are assigned to 
details of attire, such as the forms of crowns, the colors of lotus pedestals, 
the shapes and decorations of halos, or the emblems held in the hands, — 
all of which are intended to symbolize virtues and powers and to embody 
certain aspects of the cosmic activities. For instance, when the left hand 
is laid palm upward on the knees, the right hand laid in the same way upon 
the left, and the thumbs joined at the tips, the combination is meant to 
express a fusion in contemplation of the five material elements symbolized 
by the fingers. Or, when the fingers of the right hand clasp the fore-finger 
of the left according to a prescribed configuration, the gesture symbol- 

^ See further the explanation accompanying Plate XVI A. 


Dai-nichi, the Great Illuminator 


Dai-nichi, the Great Illuminator 

Artist unknown 
Japanese, Thirteenth Century 

In the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 

In this work of the middle Kamakura period the deity 
appears as Ichiji-kinrin, a supreme manifestation of Dai- 
nichi shown in the upper middle square of the Diamond Cycle, 
as indicated by the characteristic aureola and the whitish tone 
on both aureola and figure. 

Painted in colors on silk and mounted as a kakemono. 


FuDo AND HIS Attendants 


FuDo AND HIS Attendants 

Artist unknown 

Japanese, Kamakura Period, Thirteenth Century 

In the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 

A fierce manifestation of Maha-Vairochana (see p. 32), 
holding a sword and a rope in his hands and surrounded by 
flames. He is accompanied by two attendants, the boyish 
Konkara (Sanskrit, Kinkara) and the elderly Seitaka (San- 
skrit, Caitaka?), representing respectively the sustaining 
virtue and the subjugating power of Fudo. The dragon on 
the left of the picture is called Kurikara (Sanskrit, Kauri- 
kdra?), and is believed to represent either the subjugating 
power of Fudo, or the human passions which are to be subju- 
gated by the symbolic sword round which the dragon is coiled. 

Painted in colors on silk and mounted as a kakemono. 


izes the unity of the cosmic and the individual souls in the final spiritual 
enlightenment.^ Carried in the hands are flowers, jewels, weapons, staff's 
and other symbols, in almost endless variety, with which definite signifi- 
cations are associated, and these expressions, postures and emblems may 
thus be varied so as to harmonize with the different aspects which one and 
the same deity assumes according to intentions and circumstances. 

To know all these signs and their symbolic meanings is a hard task, and 
we, the uninitiated, must remain satisfied with being told that the possible 
deities and symbols are as many as the atoms of the universe. What we 
can observe for ourselves, however, is the bearing of this mystic symboliza- 
tion upon painting and sculpture. When it is considered that these intri- 
cate suggestions cannot be adequately represented save by pictures or 
statues, and that even a slight variation in form or attitude may cause a 
great difference in significance or annul ceremonial efficacy, as is taught by 
Shingon, it is easy to imagine how scrupulously the painters and sculptors 
must have worked. Moreover, these representations were not mere dia- 
grams, but portrayals of various emotions, intentions, powers and virtues 
by means of the corresponding personal appearance of the deities repre- 
sented. This requirement of Shingon art acted, necessarily, as a strong 
incentive to exact differentiation among the individual figures. When the 
Great Illuminator is represented in contemplation, the symbolic crown, the 
mode of joining the hands, the facial expression, and the whole bodily atti- 
tude must indicate that he is realizing in his mind the truth of the continu- 
ity of existence. When he appears as a furious conqueror of passions, his 
whole appearance must be a visualization of a formidable, all-subjugating 
power. Thus, although the art of Shingon was largely controlled by its 
symbolic conventions, and although some of its figures are ultra-human or 
even repellent, its meticulous care in the matter of symbolic details was 
combined with an eager effort for the realistic execution of human expres- 
sions in face, body and limbs. This was carried out with the object of mak- 
ing visible what is abstract, by expressing in tangible manifestations the 
supernal powers of the deities, and thus furnishing not only the raison 

* For the symbolism of these and other gestures, see: Si-do-in-dzou, gesles de Vofficiant dans les cere- 
monies mystiques des secies Tendai ei Shingon. {Annates du Musee Guimet, vol. viii.) 


d'etre of Shingon art, but also the strongest motives for delicate painting 
and vigorous sculpture, the results of which are seen chiefly in the art of 
the Heian period, from the ninth to the twelfth century. 

To describe in detail any considerable number of these symbolic char- 
acteristics displayed in Shingon pictures and statues, would take too long. 
Moreover, it is possible in this Museum to study the works of art them- 
selves and discover what these figures and emblems are meant to convey. 
Such study will, I hope, reveal various kinds of beauty, serenity, fullness, 
vitality, fury, and an expression of power even in monstrosity; for the art 
of Shingon is rich in grace, in sublimity, and also in what is called the 
beauty of ugliness. But another point to which I would call especial atten- 
tion is a peculiar method or mood in delineation which may be called 
expression in suppression. 

A bodily expression is usually understood to be the natural way of 
moving the muscles of the face or other parts of the body, in response to 
the impulses of thought or feeling. We weep when we are sorry, we laugh 
or smile when we are amused, or we lift up our arms in crying to Heaven. 
These are natural expressions which are surely common to the majority 
of mankind, and, indeed, it is not my intention to deny the naturalness 
of any bodily expressions, but merely to emphasize the fact that some of 
them are matters of usage, and that a given emotion may be expressed in 
more than one way. Some people worship by joining the fingers, others by 
bringing together the palms of the hands, and others by crossing the arms 
upon the breast. You of the West greet by shaking hands, the ancient 
Chinese joined his own hands and raised them, we Japanese bow down 
the head. These are expressions under the control of usage. On the other 
hand many people would, in certain cases, smile to express anger, — what 
is called by us the bitter smile ; and some, instead of weeping, would sit 
in silence. These I call expressions in suppression. 

Doubtless the foregoing is enough to indicate on what considerations the 
figures depicted in Shingon art are based. Many of them show expressions 
common to every one ; others conform to the usage of Asiatic peoples, and 
some others exemplify the more special mode of expression in suppression. 


This last is best seen in the figure of Fudo, a furious manifestation of the 
Great Illuminator, to whom allusion has already been made. His name 
means immobile or immovable, and he sits or stands, firm and motionless, 
surrounded by leaping flEunes. His arms are bent toward his body; his 
hands grasp tightly a sword and a rope; there is no attempt to suggest 
action; and yet the whole posture is expressive of the utmost energy. 
Another instance may be seen in the profound contemplation of the Great 
Illuminator. His whole body is in a perfect equipoise; his hands rest on 
his knees, his head is incHned a little forward, and his face is calm "like 
the moon." There is no expression in the active sense, yet the figure tells 
of a fullness of wisdom which can be poured out without end. It is an 
infinite eloquence in silence.^ Nevertheless, the paradox implied in such a 
phrase is not real, inasmuch as the Buddhists have always trained them- 
selves to reserve emotion and to restrain expression within the bounds of 

In this connection let me say a few words about the position of arms and 
hands, and its influence upon mental states. An eminent psychologist has 
said that a man does not weep because he is sad but is sad because he 
weeps; and though this cannot be a whole truth, it is an interesting remark 
in its bearing on the relation of bodily posture to mental conditions, which, 
in turn, is one way of explaining the significance of the various attitudes of 
body, arms and hands associated with deities who are presented in accord- 
ance with the Shingon iconography. If the body, whether standing or sit- 
ting, be held erect, the palms joined before the breast, and the position 
calmly maintained ; or if one hand be grasped by the other, as in the figure 
of the Great Illuminator, and the respiration be quietly controlled; or if 
all the muscles of the body be contracted, and the formidable facial 
expression of the Immobile Deity be assumed ; — then, by imitating these 
and other postures in conformity with the rules of Shingon, it will become 
possible gradually to acquire the mental atmosphere, the powers and the 
virtues associated with these deities. This point is emphasized in order to 
show that the various attitudes ascribed to the deities and represented in 

' Another instance of this will be discussed in the fourth chapter. 


painting and sculpture are not mere arbitrary conventions, but realistic 
embodiments of the postures which were assumed by the Buddhists in the 
course of their mental training. Surely there is much of symbolism and 
conventionality in the art of Shingon, but it must also be recognized that 
these pictures and statues, in spite of a strange or even repellent aspect 
in some cases, are expressing human sentiments and volitions in human 
ways. From this point of view it may be said that the Shingon art is a 
significant achievement of genius fostered by a religion of systematic 
mysticism, expressed in association with various methods of mental train- 
ing and based upon the ideas and ideals of a vast cosmotheistic system. 

In so far as explanations of the individual deities and their attributes 
may facilitate the understanding of this singular combination of beliefs 
and art-expressions, the foregoing must, for the present, suffice. Let me, 
therefore, take up the general scheme of the cosmotheistic world-view as 
expressed in painting. The realization of a universal spiritual communion 
is the fundamental ideal of the Buddhist religion ; and the embodiment of 
this ideal in a group of statues arranged on a platform and enclosed by 
railings, has been already described. But the importance of this plastic 
representation of the cosmic communion grew apace with the growth of 
artistic skill and the multiplication of mystic ideas. Even the cosmic 
scheme of the great Shingon communion was often exhibited in this way. 
Nevertheless, the attempt to unify all possible varieties of saints, deities, 
spirits and demons with the central world-soul, Buddha, was too compre- 
hensive a plan to be adequately and conveniently expressed except by 
painting.^ This circumstance gave rise to the ingenious but curious expe- 
dient of projecting the whole scheme on a plane surface and arranging the 
figures side by side according to classes within squares and circles. The 
result was a composite picture in which the figures were grouped as if the 
statues themselves had been laid down on a platform and looked at from 
above. The complete cycle of these groups is called a mandala or assem- 
blage, and is used to represent graphically the cosmotheistic world-view 

' Attempts were, however, made to present these groups of figures in carved reliefs which show the 
transition of the Shingon mandala from sculpture to painting. 

Shuji Mandala 


Legend of Plate XVI : 

For A. The Diamond Cycle. B. The Womb-Store Cycle. 
read A. The Womb-Store Cycle. B. The Diamond Cycle. 








I - 















in its entirety. There are two such cycles in Shingon, intended to embody 
the material manifestation and the spiritual substratum of the cosmos. 
They are made up of groups of appropriate deities arranged in their 
respective compartments about a central figure of the Great Illuminator 
which varies according to the intention of the compartment. The assem- 
blage of divinities constituting the material manifestation is called the 
Womb-Store cycle ; ^ that constituting the spiritual substratum is called the 
Diamond or Indestructible cycle ^ (Plate XVI, A & B). 

The Womb-Store is that aspect of the universe which is manifest in the 
behavior of material things considered, not as dead matter, but as the 
living energy developed by the cosmic soul. What gives vitality to these 
limitless existences is conceived in the forms of deities whose individual 
characteristics are delineated in the pictorial cycle. Here these figures are 
disposed in groups around a lotus flower, the heart of the universe. On 
each of the eight petals of the lotus is a deity, and the centre is occupied by 
the Great Illuminator, shown as in full possession of the cosmic truths.^ 
This heart and the surrounding groups are intended to signify that the 
powers and virtues emanating from the central figures find separate embod- 
iments in the persons of other deities who are gathered together in compart- 
ments according to their several classes, such as those who carry diamond 
thunderbolts (vajra), the symbol of firm resolution and indefatigable 
action; those who carry lotus flowers, the sign of purity and mercy; or 
jewel globes (ratna), the emblem of richness and benefaction. In the whole 
cycle there are twelve compartments containing a total of four hundred 
and fourteen figures, each of which represents a certain function. Their 
postures differ according to their respective significance, some appearing in 
dignified composure, others in charming benignity, others in fury or in the 
guise of distress and misery. Each is an integral part of the cosmic activ- 
ity, and all are vivifying the world by their powers. 

The Diamond Cycle, illustrating the spiritual aspect of the universe, 
is a graphic representation of the emanation and gradual evolution of the 

1 Sanskrit, Garbha-kuksi; Japanese, Taizo-kai. ^ Sanskrit, Vajra-dhdtu; Japanese, Kongo-kai. 

' This is symbolized by the gesture of the hands, which I have explained to mean the fusion of the five 


indestructible prototypes, or eternal ideas, from the Great Illuminator. 
It contains nine squares which together make up the centre and eight 
petals of the lotus, the heart of the material world. Each square is outhned 
by narrow borders filled with mystic symbols and elaborate decorations, 
and enclosing groups of deities and emblems. Thus the central square, the 
source of all mental activities, contains five circles. The central circle, in 
turn, contains five Buddhas in meditation (Dhydni-Buddha) and their 
attendants, and the central Buddha is the Great Illuminator, the heart of 
hearts. These five circles are enclosed within a large circle, and the whole 
represents the profound contemplation in which all truths of the material 
and spiritual worlds are fully realized. The rectangular border enclosing 
these circular groups is twofold : in the inner one are gathered the thousand 
Buddhas who have appeared as leaders of mankind in the different world- 
periods; and the outer one is studded with various gods of nature or of 
the Hindu pantheon, such as the Sun, the Moon, Brahma, Indra, etc. 
These are intended to signify that, as the leaders of men and gods, they are 
the manifestations of one and the same cosmic soul, and may be compan- 
ions to the souls of those who live in harmony with the cosmic life and in 
communion with the Great Illuminator. 

The central square contains one thousand and sixty-one figures and 
shows the extremely complicated character of the mind, both cosmic and 
individual; but on the other hand the mind, as a well-concentrated unity, 
may be symbolized in the perfect person of the Great Illuminator. This 
state of unity is represented in the upper middle square of the Diamond 
Cycle, where the Great Illuminator sits alone on a lotus in an attitude of 
lofty composure, surrounded by an aureola of bright flame and completely 
enclosed within a circle of pure white light. ^ His face is expressive of abso- 
lute serenity, his posture of an inviolable dignity, and his hands are clasped 
together in the gesture symbolic of full illumination. The square itself is 

' Compare Plate XIV. As already explained, one and the same deity may appear under different 
aspects, and the chief difference between the various appearances is well shown in the Diamond and 
Womb Cycles. The deities in the former are enclosed, as in this case, in the circle of light, while those in 
the Womb Cycle have only the double aureola. In the former case the lotus is included within the circle, 
while in the latter it is outside the aureola. White is predominant in the Diamond Cycle and red in the 
Womb Cycle. 


bounded by a twofold rectangular border, filled with a graceful design of 
flowers and clouds instead of deities and emblems such as appear in the 
borders of other squares. Here, then, in the squares of the Diamond 
Cycle, we see contrasted the various aspects of the cosmic soul : its diver- 
sity, as expressed in the central group of over one thousand deities, and its 
unity, as embodied in the figure of the Great Illuminator. 

A further illustration of this relationship between unity and diversity 
is to be found in the Shingon conception of worship. Inside the larger 
circle enclosed by the central square of the Diamond Cycle there are four 
single figures symmetrically disposed about the group of five smaller circles 
and representing respectively the Play, the Garland, the Song, and the 
Dance. In addition to these there is an isolated figure in each of the four 
angles of the inner border, representing the Incense, the Flower, the Lamp 
and the Perfume. All are known as Indestructible Entities and are 
associated with appropriate symbols. They are intended to signify the 
acts of worship and adoration paid to the Great Illuminator, of whom, 
however, they are manifestations ; or in other words, the Great Illuminator, 
the cosmic soul, adores himself by these various emanations of his own 
spiritual powers, while they, the manifested Indestructibles, worship by 
their respective acts the real spiritual entity and source of all emanations. 
There is here represented the distinction existing between the worshipped 
and the worshippers, but it is at the same time implied that the two are not 
separate entities but, in reality, a unit. Thus the palpable representation 
of the acts of worship symbolizes the truth that worship or adoration is 
based on the spiritual ties which unite the worshippers with the wor- 
shipped. He who adores the Divinity which is the consummation of his 
ideals and the source of inspiration and consolation, is realizing the spirit 
of that Divinity in his own soul, because his soul is in communion with, 
and inspired by, the Divinity. This is the Shingon theory of worship pre- 
sented as a corollary to its theory of the relation between unity and diver- 
sity, and the same idea is repeated in another square to the left of the 
central square in the Diamond Cycle. Here each of the deities surrounding 
a central Buddha carries a lotus flower, the act of worship consisting in 


offering to various Buddhas the symbol of their own ideal purity and all- 
embracing hearts. This is a further extension of worship from the specific 
deity to the inclusion of all deities, and is tantamount to a development 
of the idea into the act. 

In the pictorial representation of this theory it is important to notice 
that all the acts of worship are illustrated by what is beautiful, whether in 
color or in form, in rhythm, in odor, in style or in expression. The Play is 
the beauty of manner and posture; the Garland, of form and composition; 
the Song, of word and metre; the Dance, of movement and rhythm; the 
Flower, of color and fragrance ; the Lamp, of light and warmth. Regard- 
ing the Incense and the Perfume, it should be remembered that perfume 
plays a great part in all Buddhist ceremonies, and that Buddhist artists 
used to burn incense in their studios.^ In short, these symbolic figures 
typify the fundamental qualities of all branches of the fine arts and are 
summed up in the emblematic lotus flower. Their title, "Indestructible," 
may therefore be paraphrased by the term "Prototype," because they 
represent the ideal elements of art in the mind of the Great Illuminator. 
Indeed the artistic presentation of deities and the organization of elaborate 
rituals, both characteristic features of Shingon Buddhism, are embodied 
in this way in two squares of the Diamond Cycle, and it is a matter of pride 
among the Shingon Buddhists that they serve truth and beauty at the 
same time and by the same act. In a word, the worship of Divinity should 
not and cannot be dissociated from the cult of beauty, and art, therefore, 
must be an integral part of religion. 

Without further comment on the significance of this cosmotheistic reli- 
gion, it is already plain that we see here a very comprehensive world-view 
visualized in graphic representations of manifold figures and symbols. 
The art of painting has become an indispensable adjunct to the religion of 
cosmic communion, and inasmuch as this communion includes every kind 
of existence, the pictorial representation of the universe as a whole or in 
detail is necessarily made up of intricate symbolic suggestions and boldly 
imaginative personifications. Subtle reasoning united with daring con- 

' In the Zen Buddhism, of which I shall speak in the fourth chapter, perfume gave place to tea; but 
incense retained its own, or an even greater, role in both the religion and the art of Zen. 


Dai-Itoku-my6w6, the Great Majestic Power 


Dai-Itoku-myow5, the Great Majestic Power 
Japanese, Tenth Century 

In the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 

Although his typical figure has six faces which exhibit the 
six miraculous powers, and six arms which purify the six 
resorts of transmigration, he is shown in this wood sculpture 
of the Fujiwara period with but three faces and two arms, the 
latter joined in the mystic form of the one-pointed vajra. The 
pedestal, though of early date, was not originally intended for 
this statue. 


struction ; high ideals expressed in terms of form and substance ; figures of 
exquisite grace and profound serenity mingled with shapes of terrible 
power; — these are the characteristics of the Shingon religion and art. 
The mind may be calmed by the dignified composure of the Great Illumi- 
nator, but appalled by the aU-devouring flame of the angry destroyer ; and 
a deity of compassionate love may appear metamorphosed into a furious 
demon. Many of us would not care to look upon these dreadful figures, 
and might wonder why such monstrous forms were portrayed by artists. 
But to love good is to hate evil, and a deity may be represented from 
either point of view. The Shingon teachers might say to us: "You enjoy 
the serene dignity of the Great Illuminator because your inmost heart is 
in communion with him. You fear the stern and angry countenance of 
the Immobile Deity because you have in your mind and life that which 
could be chastised by his indignant sword." However this may be, the art 
of Shingon, though it abounds in conventional symbols and terrific figures, 
is nevertheless pervaded by undeniable grandeur and harmony throughout 
the whole scheme of the cosmic cycles. In many-sidedness the Shingon 
religion is an eclectic system, but in the emphasis it lays upon the ideal 
of communion, it is true Buddhism. 

Additional illustrations of the foregoing may be drawn from the consid- 
eration of some of the individual deities who find places in the cycles. 
Dai-Itoku, or the Great Majestic Power, a modification of the Brahmanic 
Yamantaka, the god of death, is supposed to be a metamorphosis of Monju, 
the god of wisdom, and occupies an important position in the Womb 
Cycle, under the central compartment. He has six faces, furious in expres- 
sion and livid in color ; his hair is fire ; his six arms carry a spear, a sword, a 
staff, a rope, bows and arrows, and he sits on a rugged rock, surrounded 
by flame. This figure, dire as it is, represents the irresistible power of 
death which kills all evils and vices (Plate XVII). Fudo, or the Immobile 
Deity, to whom I have already referred as a manifestation of the Great 
Illuminator, is another example of a formidable figure; and, indeed, there 
are many others who are thought to be modifications of the deities of wis- 


dom or mercy (Plate XVIII). This belief is not difficult to understand if 
we consider the fact that in the human mind righteous wisdom becomes 
resentful indignation when directed against wickedness, and loving kind- 
ness may involve uncompromising austerity when confronted with a trans- 
gression. The wisdom that comprehends all truth and allows no point 
thereof to remain obscure, becomes a repressive and conquering power 
when directed against ignorance and prejudice; in like manner, love em- 
braces all and therefore enforces its influence upon those who would 
disregard it. This is what Shingon teaches in doctrine and makes visible 
in painted and sculptured representations. 

Now let us see how the spirit of mercy is personified. One of the most 
popular deities of mercy included in the cosmic cycles is Kwannon (Plates 
XIX and XX, A, B, & C), who has already been described in his mani- 
festation as the merciful All-Mother (Plate VII). His Sanskrit name, 
Avalokitesvara, probably meaning On-looking Sovereign, is masculine in 
gender, and though he appears sometimes as a formidable conqueror, he is 
oftener and perhaps more properly shown as a deity of love and compassion, 
quite feminine in the gentleness of his expression. Hence he is preemi- 
nently known and worshipped as a merciful benefactor of mankind. In his 
hand he carries a lotus flower; his bright hair hangs beautifully about his 
shoulders, which are always draped, and the rest of his body is partly 
covered with veils and garlands. Another beloved and kindly benefactor 
is Jizo, or Ksiti-garbha, the Earth- Womb (Plate XXI), who visits the 
subterranean worlds where doomed spirits are suffering. He carries in his 
right hand a pilgrim's staff provided at the top with jingling rings which 
serve to arouse the spirits in agony to the presence of an all-embracing 
mercy, and in his left hand he holds a jewel symbolizing the inexhaustible 
richness of bliss and wisdom with which he liberally endows all the desti- 
tute. He appears most frequently as a monk, his shaved head encircled 
by a radiant halo; and wherever he goes there spring up lotus flowers 
beneath his feet. 

Associated with Jizo as a beneficent deity is Kokuzo, or Akasa-garbha, 
the Sky-Womb (Plates XXII and XXIII), also a god of wisdom. But 



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Japanese, Eighth Century 

In the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 

This heroic wood sculpture of the compassionate Bodhi- 
sattva shows him in the attitude of conferring a blessing with 
his right hand, whUe in his left he originally held a lotus. In 
piety of expression and simplicity of execution the figure is 
representative of the sculpture of the Tempyo period, before 
ideas of complicated decoration were seriously considered, 
and it is interesting to notice how strongly the influence of 
Indian prototypes is maintained in the pose of the body as 
well as in the attire of the loins. The arms and the free end of 
drapery just below the breast are restorations, though not of 
recent date. 





Artist unknown 
Japanese, Kamakura Period, Late Thirteenth Century 

In the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 

This deity is believed to manifest him- 
self in six, twenty-one, or thirty-three dif- 
ferent forms, in order to induce enlighten- 
ment and felicity in beings of various kinds. 
Three of the set of six manifestations are 
illustrated here. 

A. Byaku-e Kwannon (Sanskrit, Pdn- 
dara-vdsinl), the White-robed, is a feminine 
manifestation. Her whole body is pale 
gold in tone, and is partly covered with 
thin veils "like morning mists." In her 
right hand she holds a casket containing 
the sacred scripture, and in her left, a 
cord. She is supposed to avert disaster 
in response to prayer. 

B. Sho-Kwannon (Sanskrit, Arya-Avalo- 
kilesvara), the Holy Compassionate Lord. 
This is the most usual appearance of the 
deity. In his left hand he holds a lotus 
flower, symbolic of the essence of enlighten- 
ment inherent in every one's soul, which he 
induces to bloom more fuUy by the gesture 
of his right hand. On his head he wears a 
crown in which is set a figure of the Buddha 
Amita, Lord of the Western Paradise, 
whom Kwannon serves. 

C. Nyoirin Kwannon (Sanskrit, Cintd- 
mani-cakra), the Lord who, having mas- 
tered the secret of the Cintdmani Jewel, 
turns the mysterious Wheel of Truth 
(Dharma-cakra) . He has six arms. The 
first right hand supports the chin, — an 
attitude of meditation in compassion for 
beings immersed in the purgatories ; the 
second holds the Jewel which grants every 
wish, so that response may be made to the 
needs of hungry ghosts; the third holds a 
rosary which redeems bestial existence; the 
first left hand rests on a symbolic represen- 
tation of a mountain, implying the salva- 
tion of ferocious spirits (Sanskrit, Asura) 
by the virtue of firmness ; the second holds 
a lotus which purifies mankind of all 
depravities; and the third grasps the wheel 
of truth which governs the cosmos and en- 
lightens all beings. The crown is set with 
a figure of Buddha Amita, and the lotus 
pedestal rests on a rock in the sea of wisdom. 

Painted in colors and gold on wooden 
shrine doors. 


Jizo, THE Earth- Womb 


Jiz5, THE Earth-Womb 

Artist unknown 

Japanese, Early Fourteenth Century 

In the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 

The calm dignity of the figure well represents the merciful 
benefactor of mankind, always ready, in a spirit of compas- 
sion, to give anything out of the inexhaustible jewel which he 
holds in his left hand. The picture, a work of the late Kama- 
kura period, shows great delicacy and freedom in spite of the 
rigid iconographical rules of Shingon Buddhism. 

Painted in colors and gold on silk, and mounted as a 


KoKuzo, THE Sky-Womb 


KoKuzo, THE Sky-Womb 

Artist unknown 

Japanese, Thirteenth Century 

In the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 

He symbolizes the union of wisdom and compassion, the 
two cardinal virtues of Buddha. Both of these virtues are aU- 
comprehensive and indestructible, like the sky; hence his 
name. He wears the pentagonal crown of the five-fold wis- 
dom, the wisdom which includes and penetrates all; his right 
arm hangs with the palm of the hand directed toward his 
worshippers, signifying unlimited giving; and the left hand 
holds a lotus flower on which is deposited the jewel of inex- 
haustible wealth. His double halos emit flame and his whole 
body is surrounded by another halo symbolizing his immer- 
sion in the all-pervading wisdom. The seven smaU figures 
above represent the seven stars of the constellation Ursa 
Major, and the nine figures below represent the sun, the 
moon, the five planets, Rahu (eclipse) and Ketu (comet,) to- 
gether known as the nine heavenly bodies. All are shown 
in the forms of the Hindu deities who were believed to be 
the noumena of these stars. 

Painted in gold and colors on silk and mounted as a kake- 


KoKuzo, THE Sky-Womb 


KoKUzo, THE Sky-Womb 

Artist unknown 
Japanese, Late Fourteenth Century 

In the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 

A JDESCRiPTiON of this deity may be found in the legend 
attached to Plate XXII. As depicted here he holds the 
sword of wisdom in his right hand, and in the lower part of the 
painting a view of Mount Asakuma, in the Yamato style, 
is introduced according to the usual practice of painters 
of the Kasuga school — a branch of the Yamato. The pic- 
ture, dating from early Ashikaga times, is a skilful but 
somewhat mechanical repetition of the conventional Ryobu 
figure of Kokuzo, and is offered as a good illustration of the 
Japanizing process in Buddhist art. 

Painted in colors on silk and mounted as a kakemono. 


MoNJU, THE Charming Splendor 


MoNJU, THE Charming Splendor 

Artist unknown 

Japanese, Early Fourteenth Century 

In the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 

The deity is shown here as a boy representing the fresh 
vigor and youthful dignity of wisdom. In his right hand he 
carries a sword, emblematic of penetrating insight; and in his 
left he holds a lotus flower on which a sacred text, the store of 
truth, is laid. He rides upon a lion, — his frequent associate. 
The picture is a work of the late Kamakura period in which 
the rules of Shingon iconography are rather loosely treated, 
and the outlines much softened. 

Painted in colors on silk and mounted as a kakemono. 


MoNJU, THE Charming Splendor 


MoNju, THE Charming Splendor 

Artist unknown 

Japanese, Kamakura Period, Thirteenth Century 

In the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 

See the legend accompanying Plate XXIV. The deity is 
shown here with a scroll, instead of a sword, in his right hand, 
and without his lion. 

Painted in colors on silk and mounted as a kakemono. 




f vr:» , „-*'- ^ 


FuGEN, THE All-pervading Wisdom 


FuGEN, THE All-pervading Wisdom 

Artist unknown 
Japanese, Early Twelfth Century 

In the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 

He appears here as the Giver of Life, in a special manifesta- 
tion known as Fugen En-my5, the Indestructible Existence, 
a consequence of wisdom and insight. The elephant he rides 
is standing on the Indestructible Wheel of the cosmos, and 
has three heads, each provided with six tusks which axe some- 
times explained as symbolic of the subjugation of the six 
sources of temptation, — i. e., the five senses and the will. 
Ranged in pairs on either side are the four Guardian 
Kings. The picture, originally one member of a triptych, dates 
from the Fujiwara period and conforms, for the most part, to 
the iconographical rules of Shingon Buddhism. 

Painted in colors on silk and mounted as a panel. 


The Shaka Triad 


The Shaka Triad 

Artist unknown 
Japanese, Late Fifteenth Century 

In the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 

When Shaka Buddha (B) appears accompanied by these 
two Bodhisattva, Fugen (A) on his right and Monju (C) on 
his left, he is understood to be preaching the Mahayana, or 
Greater Vehicle — a suggestion derived from the same source 
as the Shingon symbolism, but older than the latter and not 
native to it. This triptych is a work of the Ashikaga period 
and is a well-preserved example of the conventional Takuma 

Painted in colors and gold on silk and mounted as three 


A Syncretic Mandala 


A Syncretic Mandala 

Artist unknown 

Japanese, Thirteenth Century 

In the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 

The fundamental tenet of the Ryobu, or Syncretic, Shinto 
was that every existence had two aspects, the ideal and the 
actual as represented by its two cycles. This doctrine, ap- 
plied to the indigenous deities of Japan, was so formulated 
that every Japanese deity was explained to be a mani- 
festation of a Buddhist deity. The pictoriail version of this 
doctrine here reproduced, represents the deities of Kasuga 
temple in their Buddhist noumena: Shaka, in the centre; 
Yakushi (Bhaisajya-guru) , the Lord of medicine, above on 
the right; Jiz5, above on the left; Monju, with sword and 
scripture, below on the left; and the Eleven Headed Kwan- 
non, with a flask in his left hand, below on the right. In 
the background above is the hill of Kasuga or Mikasa. As 
an illustration of the belief in the deity of Kasuga, the follow- 
ing hymn of the eleventh century is not without interest: — 

"The Deity of Mikasa hill. 
Whom we worship and to whom we now pray, 
Is surely looking upon us. 
So long as we are blessed by him, 
Sure is the prosperity of our lord, 
Who rules the lands under heaven." 

The syncretic idea dates from the eighth century, but this 
mode of representation is not earlier than the twelfth century, 
and the picture is a still later work of the Kamakura period. 
Painted in colors on silk and mounted as a kakemono. 


more important, perhaps, in this latter respect is Monju, or Manjusri, the 
Charming Splendor (Plates XXIV, XXV and XXVII C), to whom reference 
has already been made as the noumenon of Dai-Itoku. He is a beautiful and 
kingly youth, whose wisdom is conspicuously symbolized in the sword with 
which he cuts away all doubts and perplexities. He is often shown mounted 
on a lion, the emblem of valor and energy, those indispensable comple- 
ments of wisdom ; and he appears, too, as a youthful prince who, like wis- 
dom, is ever fresh and vigorous. The associate of Monju is Fugen, or 
Samantabhadra, the All-pervading Wisdom (Plates XXVI and XXVII A), 
also a noble youth, who wears the crown of the fivefold wisdom, carries 
a sword, or a vessel from which he pours forth the water of wisdom, and 
often rides upon an elephant, the symbol of sagacity and prudence. 

Inasmuch as a single deity may manifest himself in a variety of ways 
limited only by the possible aspects of his character and virtues, it is obvi- 
ous that the number of figures and symbols represented may be multiplied 
to almost any extent. But omitting all further descriptions of them, let 
us, in conclusion, follow up a related offshoot of the ideas underlying 
Shingon art. At a comparatively early date the Buddhist notion that the 
cosmic communion must be extended to every phase of existence and that 
the deities may appear in any forms, had been applied to the indigenous 
pantheon of Japan. All the Japanese gods were thus absorbed into the 
Buddhist communion, each of them was explained to be but another mani- 
festation of a Buddhist deity, and the result was the formation of a syn- 
cretic religion called Ryohu Shinto, to which the device of the mandala, 
or pictorial cycle was naturally applied. In these paintings, known as 
Ryohu, or syncretic mandala (Plate XXVIII), the stars, animals, women, 
semi-divine children and various other figures were mingled with Hindu 
gods, and Japanese deities clad in Sino-Japanese robes like those of the 
court nobles and Shinto priests, were represented side by side with Bud- 
dhist divinities and patriarchs. 

The syncretic Shinto had, indeed, been in vogue before the rise of the 
Ryobu mandala ; but so long as the Shingon Buddhists adhered to their 


own rules in depicting their own deities, any deviation from these rules by 
members of the sect was inadmissible. Nevertheless, the freer treatment 
of Buddhist subjects progressed step by step, as we have seen in the works 
of Eshin and his followers; and those forms of religious faith inspired by 
personal devotion and not totally proscribed by tradition, suited their 
artistic expression rather to indigenous than to exotic requirements, by 
introducing native landscapes and life into religious pictures. This Japan- 
izing process has aheady been discussed in connection with the Buddhist 
genre painting which came into prominence during the twelfth century, 
and with which the development of the Ryobu mandala was so closely 
associated that artists of the Tosa and Kasuga schools worked in both 
manners. The syncretic mandala itself is characterized more by charm 
than by dignity, by harmony of colors rather than by brilliancy. It suc- 
ceeded not only in making the Buddhist deities seem less remote, but also 
in providing the Shinto deities with artistic forms; while the composition 
of its background contributed, in association with the Buddhist genre 
painting, to the development of a pure landscape style and to the seculari- 
zation of Shingon art. 

At this point we must leave behind the symbolism of the cosmic system, 
with its many beautiful and dire visions, and turn at last to the realm and 
ways of mankind. Our path has already led us through the delicate and 
magnificent art of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, as well as through 
those artistic phases of the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries 
wherein the influence of Shingon mystery and iconography still lingered. 
Now, however, we approach another branch of Buddhism which was 
introduced into Japan during the thirteenth century and was destined to 
have a profound eff'ect in simplifying the then existing forms of Buddhist 
thought and expression through the emphasis it laid upon the adequacy 
of untrammelled nature. 


A Landscape. By Sesshu 


A Landscape 

By Sesshu, i/i20-i5o6 

Japanese, Ashikaga Idealistic School 

In the Imperial Museum, Tokyo 

Painted in ink on paper and mounted as a kakemono. 


Ideal Portrait of Bodhidharma. By Men Wu-kuan {Mon-mvkwan) 


Ideal Portrait of Bodhidharma 
First Patriarch of Zen Buddhism in China 

By Men Wu-kuan {Mon-mukwan) 

Chinese, Thirteenth Century 

Owned by Myoshin-ji, near Kyoto, 
and now deposited in the Imperial Museum, Kyoto 

This picture is the middle one of a set of three, the other 
two, in accordance with the frequent usages of Zenists, repre- 
senting things commonly met with in nature. The painter 
was a Zen monk whose name, "Gateway without Doors," 
suggests the Zenist ideal of mental freedom. The poem at the 
top of the picture is by Wen Li (1206-89), a Chinese monk of 
Mount Tien-mu, and comments on the expression of the 
patriarch to the following effect: — 

"O thou solitary sage! hast thou a skin? 
Then surely blood is streaming in thee. 
Canst utter words? 
Given a flower, what wouldst do? 
Thy lips would be a drum, thy chin a banner, eh ?" 

Painted in ink on paper and mounted as a kakemono. 



• i 





.■.*U'--^"- ■ 

/ 1* 




To illustrate the descent from the cloudy heights of mysticism to the 
clearer plain of human abode, I may best begin by calling attention to a 
landscape (Plate XXIX) in black and white, — like some view seen in a 
dream. In the foreground are suggestions of rocks, trees and a beach, all 
drawn with a few strokes, as if the artist had to spare both ink and brush. 
In the background appear faint shades, probably distant precipices. 
Modern critics would classify this sketch among the works of impression- 
ism or idealism, and such classification may well be correct as far as it goes. 
But we are concerned here less with the class to which a painting belongs 
than with the religious motive which inspired the painter. In the present 
instance the artist was a Buddhist monk, Sesshii (i 420-1 5o6), one of the 
greatest of Japanese painters ; and this landscape was given by him to one 
of his disciples in recognition not only of proficiency in art, but also of 
spiritual attainment in Buddhist training. How, then, and in what sense 
could this be a religious painting.!^ 

In order to prepare for the solution of this question, I shall ask consider- 
ation for another ink drawing (Plate XXX). Here you see the face of a 
man who seems to be looking at something intently. His mouth is tightly 
closed, whether in a sarcastic smile or in determined resolution, one can 
hardly tell, but surely in perpetual silence. A few rough, vigorous strokes 
indicate that his hands are folded under a robe which covers his shoulders 
and leaves his breast exposed. Simplicity and boldness of composition and 
suggestiveness of line are apparent; and these technical characteristics are 
so combined in the singular expression of the figure, as to indicate reserves 
of strength behind the outward composure. The picture is meant to be a 
portrait of Bodhidharma,^ the first patriarch of Zen Buddhism in China. 

1 Japanese, Daruma ; Chinese, Ta-mo. 


He came to that country in the sixth century, and from his hfe and teachings 
Japanese Buddhism, after the thirteenth century, derived its inspiration. 
This portrait was undoubtedly based upon an older one taken from life; 
but in all probability such considerations did not greatly concern the artist, 
whose object was to show the face and posture typical of a man who had 
attained a lofty spiritual training in the sect of Zen. It is believed also 
that the simple technique and bold expression are in real accordance with 
the spirit of that teaching, as well as with the ideal look of the patriarch. 
As in the landscape we have just considered, so in this portrait there 
prevails a mood of deep serenity resulting from the spiritual attainment 
and mental purity which were identified with the "life-movement of the 
spirit through the rhythm of things," as Mr. Okakura has expressed it.^ 
This affinity of the artist's mind for the rhythm of the world gives to his 
work an air of inwardness. According to these painters, a picture should 
be the soul of nature brought to a focus before the purified, spiritual eyes 
of man, — the cosmic spirit embodied in a little space through a mind in 
full grasp of the cosmos ; and thus it is the pulsation of the cosmic rhythm 
in the individual mind that gives the serenity of the " air-rhythm " ^ and the 
pure outline of the "wind-frame."^ This religion, — though application 
of the word religion to it may seem not quite well fitted, — this Buddhist 
religion, brought to Japan through China together with its art and poetry, 
was destined to supersede the Shingon mysteries and to pervade human life 
with a spirit of naturalism. 

Zen was a branch of Buddhism which laid special emphasis upon medi- 
tation. Its adherents believed that to them had been directly transmitted 
the spiritual illumination of Buddha, and they cultivated his method of 
meditation simply and purely, without admixture of mysterious rituals 
and doctrinal analysis. They had, moreover, inherited the nature- 

1 Quoting from the words of the Chinese artist Hsieh Ho (Japanese, Shakaku) in The Ideals of the East, 
p. 52. Hsieh Ho Hved during the Southern Chi dynasty, a.d. /i79-5o2. 

2 A term expressive of spiritual vitaHty, nobility, and refinement. It is the first of the Six Canons of 
painting formulated by Hsieh Ho. 

' This terra denotes simultaneous conception and composition, and implies a free, unmannered quality 
of brush work. It is a requisite of good painting demanded by the Chinese artist Wang Chung-shu of the 
Sui dynasty, 689-618. 


mysticism^ of the Indian Buddhists which, together with the poetry of the 
southern Chinese, became a source of inspiration for the artistic sense of 
the Japanese. The chief effort of this sect was directed toward the attain- 
ment of spiritual enlightenment through personal experience in contempla- 
tion, and the effects of this practice were shown in manifestations of strong 
individuality. At the same time a feeling for the tranquil beauty of nature 
produced a serene "air-rhythm" of transcendence over the incidents of 
human life. This somewhat paradoxical combination of individualism and 
transcendentalism resulted in an identification of self with the world, a 
state to be realized only through insight into the heart and spirit of nature. 
Passion, or even enthusiasm, is an impediment to this attainment and rea- 
son is useless; the essential is intuition, which illumines the mind like a 
flash in darkness, and pervades the whole air like moonlight. 

Let me elucidate these points a little further. The practitioner of Zen, 
whom I might call a Zenist, takes pride in the thought that his method is 
an unwritten tradition originally transmitted by Buddha to his great dis- 
ciple Maha-Kasyapa, when the Master lifted a flower in his hand and the 
disciple responded to the implied riddle with silence and a smile. What 
question this flower was meant to convey, or why it was answered by a 
smile can be realized only intuitively and in meditation. But the transmis- 
sion itself is not based on Buddha's invention or on any artifice ; it traverses 
the innermost recesses of the mind enlightened in the truths of nature, so 
that every Zenist should receive his spiritual illumination through the 
medium of his own soul, directly from the vast sources of the cosmos. All 
instruction is but as a finger pointing to the moon; and he whose gaze is 
fixed upon the pointer will never see beyond. Even let him catch sight of 
the moon, and still he cannot see its beauty unless his mind be innocent of 
passioii and commotion. In order to commune heart to heart with the 
cosmos and see its reality as it is, he must first free himself from the inter- 
ference of special concern and from the captivation of thought. His mind 
should be purged of such encumbrances, like the mind of one who loiters 
in the translucent air of night and enjoys the clear, serene moonlight, 

1 On this point see especially Mrs. Rhys Davids' The Hymns of the Early Buddhists. 


calmly and freely. This is the ideal of the Zenist, to be attained through 
spiritual exercise in meditation. We must, however, be careful in using the 
word meditation not to mistake it for cogitation, because the Zen practice 
of meditation is not a mode of deliberate reflection, not thinking in the 
usual sense, but consists rather in an evacuation of the mind, a process 
through which alone we can fully exercise our intuitive insight. 

What, then, is to be apprehended by that intuition? Here again our 
common sense stumbles and our thought is defied. A great master of Zen 
said: " Is there obverse or reverse in transparent water .►^ Is there inside or 
outside in vacant space .^ There is that which is luminous and clear, spon- 
taneous and disembodied. Therein is no differentiation of forms and colors; 
no antithesis of object and subject. [It is] one and the same since eternity ; 
no term to describe it, for ever." ^ This it is that underlies our selves, our 
souls; this is the primordial essence of each and all existence. The same 
master says in another passage: "See the high mountain. The summit is 
hidden; yet far beyond the clouds the eyes catch the light by which it is 
illumined. Look into the deep ocean. The bottom cannot be seen; yet the 
depth can be penetrated without taking thought. Silence is eloquent 
enough to make clear the essence; and even while sitting in repose the 
cosmos can be grasped. The whole being is bare and apparent; it is that of 
a colossus expanding beyond measure, — a giant without motion or emo- 
tion; no twilight can impede his vision, nor any dust besmirch his feet." 
Such is the true nature of the condition which is inherent in our own souls 
and is realized completely by the intuitive faculty of a mind trained in Zen. 

This kind of enigmatic utterance may, however, confuse rather than 
clarify the content of the Zen view. But precisely this riddle, which is a 
stumbling block to every one, is what the Zenists are eager to attack and to 
elucidate in their acts. The riddle of the world and life is not, they would 
say, very different from other riddles which, when solved, involve nothing 
extraordinary or amazing in itself, but always reveal simple truths plain 
to everybody. The manner of solution, moreover, is not dependent on 

' By Keizan (i268-i325) in his Zazen Yojin Ki, or "What is to be kept in mind during the Zen session." 
The present translation hardly carries the " air-rhythm " of the original Chinese, which is simple and terse, 
with few conjunctions or prepositions. 


Shaka. In the style of Kano Utanosuke 



In the Style of Kano Utanosuke, iBiS-iByB (?) 

Japanese, Kano School 

In the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 

This work of an early Kano master represents the Buddha 
as a solitary recluse, in a manner characteristic of the Zen 

Painted in ink on paper and mounted as a kakemono. 


White-robed Kwannon. By Kano Motonobu 


White-robed Kwannon 
By Kano Motonobu, i476-i559 
Japanese, Kano School 

In the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 

The deity is here shown wrapt in meditation, in the midst 
of nature, and from the idea expressed, as well as from its 
manner of expression, an adequate conception may be formed 
of the way in which conventional Buddhist painting was com- 
bined with the freer landscape style, thus leading, by degrees, 
to the secularization of Buddhist art. In this instance the 
draped figure still retains much of the Buddhist convention- 
ality, while the surrounding landscape reflects the influence 
of the great Chinese painters of earlier times. 

Painted in colors on silk and mounted as a panel. 


mathematical calculation or logical thinking, but on intuition and sagacity. 
Indeed deliberation and cogitation are often embarrassments rather than 
solvents, and the best plan is to approach the enigma with an artless and 
unfettered mind. Whatever philosophers may say, the Zenists try to solve 
the riddle of the universe in just this way. 

Zen ^ means meditation, and its method consists in Zazen, or tranquil 
session. An older contemporary of the master whose words I have already 
quoted gives instructions ^ for this practice as follows: "Arrange a seat of 
matting at a suitable place and lay a cushion upon it. Then sit down cross- 
legged, placing the right foot upon the left thigh and the left foot upon the 
right thigh. Put on robes and a girdle not too tight and preserve their sym- 
metry. Then put the right hand (palm upward) on the calf of the left leg, 
lay the back of the left hand upon the palm of the right hand, and let the 
tips of the two thumbs touch each other. Sit thus, keeping the body erect, 
inclining neither to the right nor to the left, bending neither forward nor 
backward. Let the ears be just above the shoulders and the nose be 
directed toward the abdomen. Lay the tongue against the roof of the mouth 
and keep the lips and teeth closed. The eyes should be kept open; the 
breath should flow gently through the nostrils. When the bodily position 
is thus established, exhale a deep breath; then remain seated after (having 
examined the posture by) swinging the body slightly to the right and left. 
Thereafter proceed to the contemplation of what is beyond thought." The 
effect of this posture upon the mind may be tested even in sitting on a 
chair. In any case the point is to maintain tranquillity of mind and to 
reach a depth of introspection beyond the disturbance of outside bustle or 
mental commotion. To describe this condition is an impossibility, but from 
what I have said it can be seen that Zen is a method of quietism. 

Suppose, then, that the mind has attained this ideal state of repose, — 
that it is quieted, poised, liberated, so to speak, — what would be the view 
of life and the world seen in that condition .^ The Zenist looks down from 

1 The word Zen is the Japanese abbreviation of the Chinese Ch'an-no which was pronounced in old 
Chinese something like Janna and was adopted as the transliteration of the Sanskrit Dhydna and the 
Pali Jhdna. 

^ Dogen (I200-53), in his Fukwan Zazen Gi, or "Admonition to all in the practice of the Tranquil 


his eminence upon human activities, as if houses and farms, men and 
horses, together constituted some miniature landscape with its hfe and 
movement.^ He has no concern whatever as to whether the farms are 
fertile, or as to who is gaining or losing. His mind, finding unbroken quiet 
deep in the heart of nature, perceives the motion and the change in things 
as fleet expressions stirring, perhaps, the profound repose of nature's face. 
In the world many are born and many die; the years roll on, the seasons 
follow one after another; leaves bud out green and wither, flowers bloom 
and are scattered. Let them come and go as they may ; the Zenist observes 
it all in cool composure, though not in stupid indifference. What interests 
him is the calmly flowing aspect of this perpetual change, or, more properly, 
the eternal tranquillity seen through and behind the changes. In his sight, 
the beauty and grandeur of a waterfall consist in its motion as a whole, 
— not in the movement of particular drops and bubbles ; and it was this 
motion that the Zenist enjoyed as a symbol of the general, everlasting flow 
of nature. The world he sees — like the landscapes painted by Sesshu — 
is without dazzling color and vivid movement. Through his mind all 
phenomena are drawn into that quiet abyss of the spiritual ocean where 
there are neither waves nor whirlpools, and where the individual coalesces 
with the vast expanse of nature and with the unchangeable continuity of 
the universe. In short, Zen is a naturalism which defies the lure of human 
activities and absorbs nature and life into the all-embracing tranquillity 
of the mind identified with the cosmos. 

There is still another feature of Zen which assumes great significance in 
relation not only to moral life, but also to aesthetic expression. That 
feature is individualism. The Zen enlightenment is a highly refined abstrac- 
tion. This abstraction is not, however, a mere negation of the concrete 
or a teaching of nothingness, but a transcendent view of the world. Its 
attainment consists in detachment from commotion and in steadfastness 
amid surrounding cha,nges. The mind of a Zenist may be compared with a 
rock upstanding from the depths of the sea, resisting and defying the per- 
petual movement of the waves; it is also like the pure moonlight, some- 

' Similarly expressed by Maeterlinck in his La Sagesse el la Desiinee. 


times obscured by clouds, yet never losing its purity or its power of 
beautifying whatever it illuminates.^ Strength to meet weal and woe 
equally, to enjoy life and nature in absolute composure and lofty calmness, 
— such is the aim of the Zen practice. 

" The soul which is not moved, 
The soul which with a strong and constant calm 
Takes sorrow and takes joy indifferently, 
Lives in the life undying." ^ 

Determination bordering on stubbornness, tranquillity akin to apathy, 
self-continence mistakable for indifference, — therein were manifested the 
results of the individualistic culture of Zen. 

As a method of achieving a union of the individual soul with the cosmic 
spirit, Zen training manifested itself in eirt of a transcendental kind. Nat- 
uralism and intuitionism enabled the Zenist not only to absorb the serenely 
transient beauty of nature, but also to express it, distinct from human 
passions and interests, in placid dignity and pure simplicity; while indi- 
vidualism, a necessary consequence of Zen practice, found expression in a 
vigor and freshness of artistic treatment implying always a touch of orig- 
inal genius. Thus the aesthetic sense developed by the culture consisted 
essentially in disinterested observation and penetrating insight which pro- 
duced a feeling of intimacy with the universe and caused man to mould 
his life and taste in accordance with the "air-rhythm" of nature. Since, 
however, high attainment in Zen was limited to a few men of indefatigable 
persistence, the best products of its art showed an intellectual loftiness sug- 
gestive of aristocracy. Yet its influence pervaded the hves of the people 
and moulded their perceptions in every branch of art, — in the composi- 
tion of poems, the building of houses and furnishing of rooms ; in methods 
of flower arrangement, of gardening, and even of prep£iring and drinking 
tea. Indeed, there is in Japan heirdly a form of thought or activity that 

* Herein lies the reason why Zenists often name themselves in terms of nature, as: Scattered-Stone, 
Thousand-Stone, Oak-Shade, Cloud-Peak, Lake-Heart, Heart-Moon, Moon-Valley, Cloud-Rock, Rugged- 
Precipice, Without-Cloud, etc. The name of the famous Sesshu means Snow-Boat, and there are still 
others of a contradictory turn, such as Silent-Thunder, Stone-Water, etc. 

^ Edwin Arnold, in The Song Celestial. 


Zen has not touched and inspked with its ideal of simple beauty. Music 
and sculpture may, perhaps, be counted exceptions to this rule, probably 
because to a Zenist music was too charming and sculpture too corporeal. 
There was, however, a taste for lifelike representations of ideal Zenists,^ 
which caused some, though not many, portraits to be executed in sculp- 
ture. There was, too, a special kind of bamboo flute, called shaku-hachi, 
in use among groups of wandering Zen monks, known as Komu-so, or 
"Vacuity Friars." The instrument emits subdued tones whose effect is 
more suggestive of inward absorption than of sentimental expression, and 
is thought to be in sympathy with the hidden rhythm of the cosmic soul. 
But after all, the strongest artistic expression of Zen was painting, espe- 
cially in black and white. 

The Zen painters drew both landscapes and figures. There are pictures 
of Buddha and his disciples, of various deities and of the patriarchs, which 
were painted, not as likenesses of individuals ^ but as types representing the 
Zenist's ideal of enlightenment personified. All deities are deprived of their 
traditional glories and decorations, of their golden light and brilliant 
colors, and appear simply as human figures, semi-naked or clad in white 
robes, abiding in the midst of nature. Buddha may be shown under a tree 
or among clouds, surrounded by his disciples. Here the original idea of 
communion is preserved, but the master no longer preaches to his hearers 
or manifests his supernatural body; he simply suggests a question, as by 
holding up a flower, and leaves the solution to the by-standers. The ser- 
mon is given in silence, and communion with the invisible hearers is tacitly 
established. He, or one of his disciples, is painted also as a solitary recluse, 
sitting in meditation, or standing wrapt in thought, or perhaps wandering 
from nowhere to nowhere (Plate XXXI). 

Reproduced in Plate XXXII is a picture of a lady dressed in pure 
white and seated on a rock by the waterside. She seems to look at the vast 

' Due rather to the pious memory, verging on Glial affection, in which Zenists held their masters, than 
to the individualistic character of Zen. 

'' The painting of Bodhidharma (Plate XXX) illustrates, however, a class of Zen portraits in which 
individual firmness of character and tranquillity of mind are clearly indicated. The connection of Zen 
training with the military life of Japan also helped to develop portrait painting, in which the vigorous 
character of Zenist warriors was powerfully depicted. 


KwANNON. In the style of Sesshu 



In the Style of Sesshu, i 420-1 5o6 
Japaivese, Ashikaga Idealistic School 

In the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 

Here the deity appears in feminine form, absorbed in 
meditation and seated on the back of a dragon. 

Painted in ink and traces of color on paper and mounted 
as a kakemono. 


MoNJu. By Kano Tanyo 



By Kano Tanyo, Eighteenth Century 
Japanese, Kano School 

In the Museum of Fine Arls, Boston 

The deity is here shown in semi-worldly guise as a young 
prince. The picture, though sufficiently typical of its kind, 
is weak in execution, and is reproduced here merely as an 
illustration of the secularized Buddhist motive. 

Painted in colors on silk and mounted as a kakemono. 


MoNJu. By Hosetsu 



By Hosetsu, Fifteenth Century 
Japanese, Ashikaga Idealistic School 

In the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 

In this characteristic Zen work, the deity is simply shown 
as an old man seated on the back of his familiar lion. 
Painted in ink on paper and mounted as a kakemono. 


The Arhant (Rakan) Ananda Feeding a Hungry Ghost 
By Chou Chi-chang (Shu-kijo) and Lin T'ing-kuei (Rin-teikei) 


The Arhant (Rakan) Ananda Feeding a Hungry Ghost 

By Chou Chi-chang (Shu-kijo) and Lin T'ing-kuei (Rin-teikei) 

Chinese, Twelfth Century 

In the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 

This story of Ananda is told in a Chinese Buddhist text and 
is said to have originated the Buddhist custom of offering 
food to invisible spirits. 

The painting is one of a set of one hundred pictures repre- 
senting the Five Hundred Arhant, executed in 1178 at Ming 
Chao, for a pious dedication. 

Painted in colors on silk, and mounted as a panel. 


The Arhant (Rakan) Darbha Malli-putra ascending to the Sky 
By Chou Chi-chang {ShD-kijo) and Lin T'ing-kuei {Rin-teikei) 


The Arhant (Rakan) Dabbha Malli-putba ascending 
TO THE Sky in Contemplation of Water and Fibe 

By Chou Chi-chang (Shu-kijo) and Lin T'ing-kuei {Rin-ieikei) 

Chinese, Twelfth Century 

In the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 

Fob the story of Darbha (Pali, Dahha), see Albert J. Ed- 
munds, Buddhist and Christian Gospels (Philadelphia, 1909), 
vol. II, pp. 174-75. 

The painting is one of a set of one hundred pictures repre- 
senting the Five Hundred Arhant, executed in 11 78 at Ming 
Chao, for a pious dedication. 

Painted in colors on silk and mounted as a panel. 


expanse of water, or possibly she hears the melodies of the breeze singing 
through the trees overhead. This is a manifestation of the goddess of 
mercy, Kwannon, to whom, under a very different aspect, I have already 
referred.^ The same deity is often shown, too, sitting on a dragon among 
clouds (Plate XXXIII), or standing with a branch of willow in one hand, 
— seeming to be in possession of the great power of nature, or merely to 
loiter in the open country, — whether with the object of enjoying the 
grandeur and calmness about her or of helping others to a similar enjoy- 
ment, may be left to the decision of the onlooker. In like manner, Monju, 
god of wisdom, is represented as a lovely boy reading a scroll, while his 
lion plays near by (Plate XXXIV), or as a weird old man seated on a lion 
(Plate XXXV) ; and Fugen, another god of wisdom, appears as a simple 
youth or as a young woman riding on an elephant. Such pictures are not 
meant to be worshipped, but to give pleasure, — the pleasure of serene 
composure, of pure simplicity, of the beauty of slender human figures. 

Buddha's disciples, the Rakan,^ are often represented in a group against 
a background of mountain scenery, each of them enjoying, silently and by 
himself, the spectacle of nature presented to his illumined mind (Plates 
XXXVI and XXXVII). These pictures of the Rakan are akin in spirit 
and delineation to those of the Taoist hermits and sages, called in Chinese, 
Hsien,^ or " Men of the Mountains" ; and here let me say a word about the 
connection between Zen and Taoism. " The wind. Nature's flute, sweeping 
across trees and waters, sings many melodies. Even so, the Tao, the great 
Mood, expresses Itself through different minds and ages yet remains ever 
Itself."* This saying of a great Taoist master expresses the mood of the 
Taoist culture, whose purpose, like that of Zen, was to overcome worldly 
troubles and find an everlasting repose in the calm enjoyment of nature. 
Such ideas, fostered and developed among the Chinese of the Yang-tzu 
Valley, manifested their influence not only in a naturalism which involved 

1 See Plates VII, XIX and XX A, B & C. 

2 Sanskrit, Arhanl, which originally meant "the venerable"; but the Chinese Lo-hart, or its Japanese 
equivalent, Rakan, is associated with the men "emancipated" or living out of the world. 

^ Japanese, Sennin. 

* Quoted from Chuang Tzu by Okakura, in The Ideals of the East, p. 46. See further pages /i3-6o of the 
same book. Tao literally means "The Way," not in an ethical sense but something like Jakob Bohme's 


an almost misanthropic abandonment of the worldly life, but also in an 
individualism exemplified in the persons of many hermits who, seeking the 
seclusion of forest, hill and stream, remote from human abode, indulged in 
"pure conversation" among themselves, or expressed their feeling for 
nature in poems of simple motive; and, immersed in these pursuits, sur- 
vived to ages far beyond the lot of ordinary mortals (Plate XXXVIII), 
This culture, or rather inspired unculture, is what I have already pointed 
out as the associate of Zen in southern China, and in many cases a Zenist 
and a Taoist cannot be distinguished. 

The "Men of the Mountains" depicted by Zen painters are taken from 
the semi-legendary poets, hermits and sages of Taoism, whose sentiment 
tow£ud nature has, in this way, permeated the art and life of the Japanese, 
especially since the fourteenth century. As represented in the pictures, 
one or more of these Immortals may exhibit the weird art of floating 
through the sky; another projects his own image from his mouth; another 
causes a horse to come out of a gourd. Yet they were admired not as mere 
magicians but as embodiments of the attainment in Zen through which an 
adept could spiritually perform similar feats, such as the act of "inhaling 
and exhaling the whole universe at one breath," as it is called. They were 
not supernatural men; on the contrary the "Men of the Mountains" were 
children of nature, and are shown amusing themselves in nature. Plates 
XXXIX and XL depict two such beings, Chinese poets of the seventh 
century. The one, Han-Shan,^ or " Cool-Hill," has a blank scroll, implying 
that he reads the unwritten book of nature. The other, Shih-Te,^ or 
"Picking-up," holds a broom, — the broom of insight, of wisdom, of tran- 
scendence, — with which to brush away all the dusts of worry and trouble. 
To read the book of nature : that is the ideal of Zen naturalism and intu- 
itionism ; to sweep off all troubles : that is the motto of Zen individuahsm 
and transcendentalism. 

In addition to such themes the Zen artists were extremely fond of paint- 
ing landscapes. Of these, one specimen has been described, and all others 
(Plates XLI and XLII) are similar in feeling, although, of course, there 
is great variety among them in composition and in the scenes repre- 

' Japanese, Kanzan. "^ Japanese, Jillokn. 


The Three Laughers of Hu-hsi (Kokei). By Soga Shohaku 


The Three Laughers of Hu-hsi (Kokei) 

By Soga Shohaku, 1780-83 

Japanese, Post-Ashikaga Idealistic School 

In the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 

The social disintegration which characterized the fourth 
and fifth centuries in China had the effect of causing many 
able men to turn their backs upon the world and seek the 
seclusion of the mountains, where they lived immersed in 
their own pursuits. In the time of Hsiao Wu (873-96), tenth 
Emperor of the Eastern Chin dynasty, there lived in Mount Lu 
(Ro-san) a priest named Hui Ylian (E-on) who for thirty years 
had fulfilled a vow never to cross the little bridge which con- 
nected his retreat in Hu-hsi (Tiger Dale) with the road lead- 
ing to the world he had quitted. On one occasion, however, 
when his best friends, T'ao Yiian-ming {To Enmei) and Lu 
Hsiu-ching {Riku Shusei), had been visiting him and he went 
to see them off, the three were so absorbed in merry talk that 
the monk unconsciously crossed the bridge. Having become 
aware of this they stopped and laughed together. This story 
is frequently taken as a theme of Zen painting to illustrate, 
in part, the mood of hermit life ; and the sympathy with which 
it is depicted in the present instance may be attributed to the 
fact that the artist, a man of undoubted genius, being con- 
temptuous of the degenerate art of his time, and ambitious to 
revive the vigorous style of the fifteenth century, was so ridi- 
culed by his contemporaries that he retired into solitude, even 
as Hui Yiian had done before him. 

Painted in ink on paper and mounted as a two-fold screen. 


Han Shan {Kanzan) and Shih-Te {Jittoku) 


Han-Shan (Kanzan) and Shih-Te {Jilloku) 

Artist unknown 

Japanese, Late Fifteenth Century 

In the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 

The two Chinese poet-hermits are here depicted in a man- 
ner thoroughly characteristic of the idealistic Zen painters of 
Ashikaga times. The inscription above is by Sonan (i/joS- 
89), a Zen monk, known also as Ryogen. It is written from 
left to right and reads as follows: "When these two met they 
could not refrain from smiling at each other. One sometimes 
carried a scroll in his hand, and the other gazed at the moon, 
— pointing her out. But see, in the west stands Mount 0-mei 
(Lofty Eyebrows) — in the north, Wu-t'ai (Five Terraces), 
and it is now ten years since these two poets departed thither." 

Painted in ink on paper and mounted as a kakemono. 

^:.g' ft ^ 


Shih-Te (Jittoku). By Gei-ami 


Shih-Te {Jittoku) 

By Gei-ami, Fifteenth Century 

Japanese, Ashikaga Idealistic School 

In the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 

The recluse poet is here shown smiling at the moon. His 
besom lies on the ground at his feet. 

Painted in ink on paper and mounted as a kakemono- 


A Chinese Landscape. In the style of Soga Shubun 


A Chinese Landscape 

In the Style of Soga Shubun, Early Fifteenth Century 

Japanese, Ashikaga Idealistic School 

In the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 

The descriptive poem at the top of the picture is by the 
Zen monk RyQtaku Ten-in, commonly known as Moku-un, 
and is dated in the early summer of i5oo, — the year in which 
the poet died at the age of seventy-nine. It says: — 

Waking from an afternoon doze, he opens the lattice giving on the river 

Behold the violet hills reflected in the blue expanse of water! 
From above heaven looks down, as though in pity, on the solitary man; 
And below on the sandy beach, a pair of water birds has come to rest. 

Painted in ink on paper and mounted as a kakemono. 

11 1 


Tii t 

t'fi > 


A Chinese Landscape. By Josetsu 


A Chinese Landscape 
By Josetsu, Early Fifteenth Century 
Japanese, Ashikaga Idealistic School 

In the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 

Painted in ink on paper and mounted as a kakemono. 


sented. The grandeur or tranquillity of nature seen through the spiritual 
eyes of one purified by long training in Zen; the changes of life and season 
absorbed into the calm depth of contemplation ; — such impressions the 
painter strove to catch with simple, bold strokes of his brush and with 
little color. Distant hills like shadows ; water marked out by a few ripples ; 
sails and boats just dotted in; rocks and trees drawn with a few touches; 
these make up a landscape. Human figures are often added to the scene, 
and appear to be gazing beyond the expanse of water, or loitering in the 
moonlight, or looking up at the cliffs and waterfalls. They are meant to be 
Taoists or Zenists whose presence in the picture shows that they are seeing 
the view as reflected in their purified minds. 

This point brings us to the connection between painting and poetry in 
Zen art. To the fact that Chinese characters — the written symbols 
developed in China and later adopted in Japan — were originally pictures 
representing objects, conditions and abstract ideas, may be attributed the 
ancient regard for drawing and writing as correlated arts of equal impor- 
tance, both of them executed with the same breadth and flexibility of line, 
and by means of the same implement. But it was the Zenists who intensi- 
fied this calligraphic afQnity by expressing their chEu-acteristic sense of 
nature in combinations of painting and poetry. Thus a Zen monk would 
compose a poem like this: "The world is suffused with the pure moon- 
light; no cloud nor dust is in the sky. The vast expanse of water reflects 
the heavenly rays ; and, far beyond, distant hills appear as in a dream. The 
pines on the beach sing the music of the calm night ; and I ^ stand here, my 
mind absorbed into the sky and water, — melted into the one serene pale- 
ness." Then, under a calligraphic writing of this poem, the scene will be 
depicted with the same ink and brush and in kindred strokes. For example, 
among the writings mounted on the landscape of Sesshu (Plate XXIX), 
there is a poem to the following effect : — 

" Is water identical with waves? 
No, but the mind, that is like water! 
Clouds gather in the valley and disperse again, 
Whither the mind alone can follow." 

^ A Zenist would object to the personal pronouns "I" and "my," because to lose one's self in nature 
is essential from his point of view. 


Such is the usual device of the Zenist poet and painter united in one person, 
and in this association of poetry and painting he exhibited again the fusion 
of mind and nature. 

Animal life is sometimes touched by the Zen artists, the dragon and the 
tiger being their favorites. The tiger glares at the sky where the dragon is 
partly seen amid the dark clouds (Plates XLIII A & XLIII B). The 
earthly beast roars and the air whirls ; the heavenly serpent mounts upward 
through the vapors which crowd about him. In the one was seen a power 
which could shake hills and rocks ; in the other a power ruling the air and 
heaven. Which would control the other? "Have you seen the dragon?" 
wrote Mr. Okakura.^ "Approach him cautiously, for no mortal can sur- 
vive the sight of his entire body. The Eastern dragon is not the gruesome 
monster of mediaeval imagination, but the genius of strength and goodness. 
He is the spirit of change, therefore of life itself. . . . Hidden in the cav- 
erns of inaccessible mountains, or coiled in the unfathomed depth of the 
sea, he awaits the time when he slowly rouses himself into activity. He 
unfolds himself in the storm clouds ; he washes his mane in the blackness 
of the seething whirlpools. His claws are in the fork of the lightning, his 
scales begin to glisten in the bark of rain-swept pine trees. His voice is 
heard in the hurricane which, scattering the withered leaves of the forest, 
quickens a new spring. The dragon reveals himself only to vanish." In 
this contending pair the Zenists saw a graphic representation of the all- 
controlling forces which break down terrestrial distinctions and fuse 
together heaven and earth. This, as an aspect of their world view, is in- 
herent in their practice of contemplation, which enabled them, as they 
believed, to pull down the stars and uplift the mountains, — but all spirit- 
ually and ideally. 

I have now arrived at the stage in my exposition where I can point out 
definitely the final steps in the secularization of Zen art. The dragon and 
tiger may be tamed, both in the mind of a Zenist and by the brush of a 
painter. They may easily be made to serve a decorative purpose, and 

1 Okakura, The Awakening of Japan, pp. 77-78. 


Dragon and Tiger. By Hasegawa Tohaku 


























































































A Travesty on Fugen. By Katsukawa Shunsho 


A Travesty on Fugen 

By Katsukawa Shunsho (1726-92) 

Japanese, Ukiyo-e School 

In the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 

The deity is represented as a courtesan mounted on an ele- 
phant standing among clouds which arise from incense said to 
be endowed with the magic power of revealing to any man the 
image of his dead or ideal beloved. Above is a didactic inscrip- 
tion by Kato Chikage (1736-1806), a scholar in the Japanese 
classics. It alludes to the Buddhist doctrine of non-attach- 
ment, and is intended as a comment on the picture from that 
point of view, inasmuch as Fugen is the god of wisdom who 
dispels the illusion of vain attachment. It says: "Sometimes, 
allured by beauty one feels passionate attachment (to a wo- 
man) ; sometimes, attracted by a voice, one becomes ensnared 
in love, which, being pondered in the mind and expressed by 
the mouth, intensifies illusory ideas. Indeed, all men are 
charmed by the objects of the senses, and commit sins by 
the organs. Thus the soul is deluded by what is seen or 
heard." This is a weak echo of Buddhist teaching, written in 
a pleasure-loving age and added to a picture of entirely 
worldly motive. 

Painted in colors on silk and mounted as a kakemono. 


A Travesty on Han-Shan {Kanzan) and Shih-Te (Jittoku) 
By Katsukawa Shunsho 


A Travesty on Han-Shan {Kanzan) and 

Shih-Te {Jiitoku) 

By Katsukawa Shunsho (1726-92) 

Japanese, Ukiyo-e School 

In the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 

The two poet-hermits are here represented as women: one 
reading a love-letter instead of the blank scroll peculiar to 
Han-Shan; the other holding an ordinary indoor broom in- 
stead of the besom carried by Shih-Te. 

Painted in colors on silk and mounted as a kakemono. 


indeed the Zen temples show various examples of dragons so used. More- 
over, a Zen landscape may be enjoyed by any man, if not exactly in the 
spirit in which it was painted, then simply as a picture of nature's beauty. 
Representations of the saints, hermits and deities may be regarded as mere 
human figures in interesting, if not weird, postures, and may attract many 
art lovers, almost apart from the associated stories of attainment in Zen 
enlightenment. Thus it was only one step from this idealistic art to a 
romantic art and thence to an art of realistic motive. The landscape of 
Zen painting became a strong incentive to, and model for, the secular 
landscape and was further applied to decorative art. The human figures of 
manifold attitudes were transformed to the uses of worldly life. A tempo- 
ral form of the god of wisdom has already been referred to (Plate XXXIV), 
and I can add many other examples of similar sort, such as Daruma 
soothed by a woman, or the Rakan at play. These are cases in which a 
secularization of Buddhist art is indeed apparent; but the process was 
carried so far by the later genre painters that Fugen came to be represented 
as a courtesan reading a love-letter (Plate XLIV), and Kwannon as a 
maid coming from the market with her basket of fish.^ Such pictures are 
manifest instances of sacrilege against the Zen ideal (Plate XLV) ; but 
on the other hand there was a more serious secularization which, though 
worldly in content, nevertheless retained, in composition and brush 
strokes, the "wind-frame" of Zen painting. In Japan this is first notice- 
able among works by Kano Masanobu (died 1A90?) and his son Motonobu 
(1475-1559), and has been perpetuated by their descendants of the Kano 
Academy, an idealistic school with strong romantic tendencies. Another 
movement in the same direction was the purely decorative school of paint- 
ing and lacquer work which derived much of its inspiration and method 
from the mediaeval genre, and found immortality in the masterpieces of 
K5etsu (i556-i637) ^^^ Kdrin (1658-1716). This, however, is not the 
place for a detailed account of these two schools, whose influence is still a 

1 This kind of simplifying and secularization had been in vogue in China since the twelfth century, and 
so long as it retained the technique of simple ink drawing it was in accordance with the spirit of Zen. But 
when the figure was adapted to genre painting and filled in with decorative coloring, it became totally 
profane. The legend of Fugen appearing as a courtesan in order to convert her suitors to religion is pretty 
old, and the inscription shown in Plate XLIV retains a trace of the old legend. 


formative factor in Japanese art ; ^ but it is important to observe that they 
expressed what may be called the naturalization of Zen art in Japan, or in 
other words the encroachment, on Zen idealism, of the Japanese feeling for 
life and nature, not in abstract transcendence, but in visible concrete- 
ness (Plates XLVI and XLVII). Here, surely, was a deviation from the 
original spirit of Zen, but being in no sense revolutionary, the change 
was carried out almost imperceptibly by natural adaptation of spirit and 

In this connection we must note the altered form of Buddhist doctrine 
which became the faith of the whole Kano family as well as of Kdetsu and 
his followers. The new creed was started in the thirteenth century by the 
monk Nichiren, and was founded on a broad ambition to unite the best 
thought of all religions existing in Japan through the teachings of the 
"Lotus of Truth." 2 This scheme of Buddhist reform was replete with 
national ideas and laid stress on the necessity and possibility of transform- 
ing the actual world into a paradise, — an ideal kingdom of perfection. 
Though we are not as yet able to point out the intrinsic connection of this 
Buddhism with the art of the Kano and Koetsu schools, it is none the less 
remarkable that Kano Motonobu worked on the decoration of the holy-of- 
holies of the Nichiren church, and that K5etsu, himself a doctor of Nichi- 
renite dogmatics, dedicated his abode to the service of a Nichirenite mon- 
astery. What FenoUosa says ^ about the Koetsu school, may be applied, 
in a religious sense, to a description of Nichirenism: "It is neither realism 
nor idealism, as we ordinarily misuse these words ; it attempts to give an 
overmastering impression, a feeling vague and peculiarly Japanese, as if 
the whole past of the race with all its passions and love surged back in a 
gigantic race memory inwrought in the inherited nerves — a patriotism as 
gorgeous and free and colossal as one's grandest dreams." Indeed, Nichi- 
ren was a great visionary, the prophet of a universal Buddhist Church and, 
at the same time, a hero of national spirit; and it can hardly be a far- 

' These points are dealt with in the author's forthcoming book on Japanese Arl in its Relation to Social 

2 See chapter i . 

^ Epochs of Chinese and Japanese Art, vol. ii, pp. 127-28. 


A Cormorant. By Miyamoto Musashi 


A Cormorant 

By Miyamoto Musashi, i582-i645 

Japanese, Post-Ashikaga Idealistic School 

In the possession of Viscount Matsudaira 

This picture, done with so few strokes, achieves a greater 
interest from the fact that the painter was a famous master of 
fencing in whose mind the art of the brush and the art of the 
sword were fused together by his Zen training. 

Painted in ink on paper and mounted as one panel of a 
six-fold screen. 



1 1 


Sparrow and Chrysanthemums. By Kenzan 


Sparrow and Chrysanthemums 

By Kenzan, 1668-1743 

Japanese, Koetsu School 

In the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 

Painted in pale colors on paper and mounted as a kake- 


fetched interpretation to see in the vigorous national style of the Kanos 
and of the K5etsu school an influence of their new faith. ^ 

Thus the secularization of Zen art proceeded by absorption of the Zenist 
spirit into daily life, which, in turn, was purified and elevated by religious 
and aesthetic inspiration. The Zenist would say, in self-confidence, that 
moonlight could, without lessening its purity and brilliance, penetrate 
everywhere and be reflected even from dust. The pure moonlight of the 
Zenist enlightenment permeated every corner of social and domestic exist- 
ence, primarily through tea and its art, what Mr. Okakura has called 
" Teaism." ^ Tea is believed to be a calming drink, and the Zenists used to 
take it sitting in a quiet room around a little hearth let into the floor as a 
convenience for boiling water. This meeting of those who were united in 
the cult of serenity became a manifestation of the religion of beauty, — 
the beauty which lies in subdued tone and tranquil mood. The tea-room 
was, perhaps, tiny, but it was always scrupulously clean and furnished in 
the simplest way. Similarly the garden, as well as the trees and stones in it, 
were arranged in accordance with the "air-rhythm" of the mind purified 
by Zen culture. On one side of the room there was a little alcove, dedicated 
to the cosmic spirit of simple beauty, wherein a small landscape painting 
or a calligraphic poem-writing was hung. The smoke of incense rose in the 
dusk of this space, the incense which never irritated the senses but enabled 
one to inhale the essence of delicacy and composure. A little gong sum- 
moned the guests to this tiny chapel of purity ; they proceeded quietly and 
glided into it ; then they drank cups of tea amid surroundings of the utmost 
calmness. There they would talk only of things outside the world, "wind 
and moon," "air and stream," or anything else which might help to pacify 
their minds. 

The spirit of Zen manifested in Teaism penetrated into the households 

1 As this point was never touched by art critics until my friend T. Sasakawa called attention to it, the 
inherent connection between Nichirenism and the Japanese schools of painting now awaits further re- 
search and more definite elucidation. The work done by Kano Motonobu at Minobu, the sacred place of 
Nichirenite Buddhism, perished in a fire; but there is, I imagine, still a trace of the great Kano master in 
the wall paintings of lotus flowers decorating the chapel of Minobu where the relics of the Prophet are 
piously preserved. 

^ Mr. Okakura's The Book of Tea, which the present description faintly reflects, is an admirable intro- 
duction to the spirit of Teaism. 


of nobles and peasants alike. Every Japanese house is built in a style more 
or less affected by the atmosphere of the tea-room, and in the main rooms 
are always the alcoves, the shrines of simple beauty. Beside a picture hang- 
ing within, there may be an incense pot, a flower vase, a few scrolls; all 
other furniture is carefully excluded. A family may possess a rich collec- 
tion of paintings ; but only one or a pair, at most a set of three, would be 
admitted in a room. The house and its chambers should not be used for 
an exhibition of art works, because real enjoyment of art should be con- 
centrated on a few precious pieces. The garden, its trees and stone lan- 
terns, the pot for washing-water usually standing on a stone alongside the 
veranda, even the interior of a latrine, in short, everything that is within or 
around the house, ought to partake of the purity of the chapel and express 
in its own way the adoration of nature's beauty. Thus the art of Zen was 
secularized; thus, too, the abodes of man were purified; and throughout 
we see the Buddhist ideal of communion, no longer made sensible in 
temples and statues, in ceremonies and rituals, but manifested in the 
homes of human beings, as a religion of simple beauty, — a cult of nature 
and of spiritual life. 





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Ars Asiatica. Etudes et documents publies sous la direction de Victor Goloubew. Paris, 

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Burgess, J. The Ancient Monuments, Temples, and Sculptures of India. London, 1897. 
Burgess, J. Buddhist Stupas of Amaravati and Jaggayapetta. London, 1887. 
Cave, H. W. The Ruined Cities of Ceylon. London, 1897. 
Chavannes, E. La sculpture sur pierre en Chine au temps des deux dynasties Han. Paris, 

Chavannes, E. Mission archeologique dans la Chine septentrionale. Planches. Paris, 1909. 

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Cunningham, A. Maha-bodhi. London, 1892. 
Cunningham, A. The StUpa of Bharhut. London, 1879. 
Dillon, E. The Arts of Japan. London, 1906. 

Fenollosa, E. Epochs of Chinese and Japanese Art. 1 vols. London, 1912. 
Fergusson, J. Tree and Serpent Worship. London, 1878. 
Fergusson, J. The Cave-Temples of India. London, 1880. 
Foucher, a. Uart greco-bouddhique de Gandhara. Paris, igoB. 

Giles, H. A. An Introduction to the History of Chinese Pictorial Art. Shanghai, igoB. 
Griffiths, J. The Paintings of the Buddhist Cave-Temples of Ajanta. London, 1896-97. 
Grunwedell-Burgess. Buddhist Art in India. London, 1901. 
Japanese Temples and their Treasures. 3 vols. Compiled by the Department of Interior. 

Tokyo, 1910. 
Joly, H. L. Legend in Japanese Art. London, 1908. 

Kokka, The. A monthly journal on the arts of Japan and China. Edited by S. Taki. 
KuKi, Baron B. A History of Japanese Art. 3 vols. Tokyd, 1913. 
Morse, E. S. Japanese Homes and their Surroundings. Boston, i885. 
MtJNSTERBERG, 0. Chinesische Kunstgcschichte. 2 vols. Esslingen, 1910-12. 
Munsterberg, 0. Japanische Kunstgcschichte. 3 vols. Braunschweig, 1904-05. 
Okakura, K. The Ideals of the East. London, 1904. 
Okakura, K. The Book of Tea. New York, 1906. 
Okakura, K. The Awakening of Japan. New York, 1904. 
Petrucci, B. Les characteres de la peinture japonaise. Revue de rUniversite de Bruxelles, 

1907, nos. 4-5. 


Shimbi Taikwan, or the Relics of Japanese Art. 20 vols. Shimbi Shoin, Tokyo, 1899-. 

Spooner, D. B. Excavations at Sahribahlol. 

Spooner, D. B. Handbook to the Sculpture in the Peshawar Museum. Bombay, 1910. 

Stein, M. A. Ancient Khotan. 2 vols. Oxford, 1907. 

Stein, M. A. The Sand-Buried Ruins of Khotan. London, 190/i. 

Stein, M. A. The Ruins of Desert Cathay. 2 vols. London, 1912. 

Taki, S. Three Essays on Oriental Art. London, 1910. 

Toyei Shuko. Shimbi Shoin, Tokyo, revised edition, 1910. 


Aung, S. Z. (translator). Compendium of Philosophy (Abhidhammattha-sangaha). Lon- 
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Beal, S. Catena of Buddhist Scriptures from the Chinese. London, 1871. 
Bigelow, W. S. Buddhism and Immortality. Boston, 1908. 
Carus, p. The Gospel of Buddha. Chicago, 1894. 
CowELL, E. (editor). Jataka. 6 vols. Cambridge, 1896-97. 
Edkins, J. Chinese Buddhism. London, 2 ed. 1898. 

Edmunds, A. J. Buddhist and Christian Gospels. 2 vols. Philadelphia, 1909. 
EiTEL, E. J. Handbook of Chinese Buddhism. Tokyo, 190/i. 
Franke, 0. (translator in extract). Der Dlgha-nikdya. Gottingen, 1918. 
Getty, A. The Gods of Northern Buddhism. Oxford, lgI^. 

Grunwedell, a. Mythologie des Buddhismus in Tibet und der Mongolei. Berlin, 1901. 
Haas, H. Amida Buddha unsere Zuflucht. Leipzig, 1910. 
Kern, H. Manual of Indian Buddhism (Indio-arische Philologie und Altertumskunde) . 

Tubingen, 1896. 
Lloyd, A. The Creed of Half Japan. London, 191 1. 
Lloyd, A. The Wheat among the Tares. London, 1908. 
Moore, G. F. History of Religions. New York, 191/i. 

Moore, J. H. (translator). Sayings of Buddha, the Itivuttaka. New York, 1908. 
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Neumann, K. E. (translator). Die Reden Gotamo Buddho's (die Mittlere Sammlung). 

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Vol. 10. Dhammapada and Sutta-nipdta. 

Vol.11. Buddhist Suttas. 

Vols. i3, 17 and 20. Vinaya Texts. 

Vol. 21. Sad-dharma-pundarlka. 

Vols. 35-36. Milinda-panhd. 

Vol. ^9- Mahdydna Texts. 
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Suzuki, D. T. Outline of Mahdydna Buddhism. Chicago, 1908. 

Suzuki, D. T. (translator). The Awakening of Faith (hy Asvaghosha). Chicago, 1900. 
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Waddell, L. a. The Buddhism of Tibet. London, 1895. 
Warren, H. C. Buddhism in Translation. Cambridge, Mass., 1900. 

In preparation by M. Anesaki 

Japanese Art in its Relation to Social Life. 

(Four Lectures given at the Fogg Museum of Harvard University.) 
Religious and Moral Development of the Japanese. 



Achala, 34- See also Fudo and Immobile Deity. 

Achilles, 12. 

yEsop's Fables, 7 {note). 

Air-rhythm, 48, ^Q, 5o {note), 53, 61. 

Aizen (Raga), PI. XVIII. 

Akasa-garbha, 44- See also Kokuzo. 

Alexander, 12. 

Amatampadam. See Pathway to Immortality. 

Amita (Amitabha, Amitayus, Amida), 26^.; Pis. 

A-nan. See Ananda. 
Ananda, Pis. II, IV A, XXXVI. 
Apollo, 12. 
Arhant, 55 {nole)\ Ph. XXXVI, XXXVII. See 

also Rakan and Lo-han. 
Asoka, King, 5, 11; PL III. 
Asura, PL XX. 
Avalokitesvara, 44". Pis. II, XX. See also Kwannon. 

Benares. See Kasl. 

Bhaisajya-guru. See Yakushi. 

Bhaisajya-raja, PL II. 

Bharhat, 11; PL II. 

Bija. See Shuji. 

Birushana. See Vairochana. 

Bodhi, 3 (note), 11, 19. 

Bodhidharma, 4?, 54 (Rofe); PZ. XXX. See also 

Bodhisattva, i4, i5, 17, 28; Pis. II, XI, XIX, XXVI. 
Bodhi tree, 3 (note), 11; PL III. 
Bonten. See Brahma. 
Bosatsu. >See Bodhisattva. 
Bo tree. 5ee Bodhi tree. 
Brahma, 3, 4 (note), 12, 25, 4o; PL X. 
Buddha, 2, 3, and passim. See also Sakya-muni 

and Shaka. 
Buddha-land, i5. 
Buddhas, i5, 23, 34, 4o, 42; PL II. Seea/soDhyani- 

Byod5-in, 27. 
Byzantine, 25 {nole). 

Caitaka. See Seitaka. 

Caitya, 10. 

Cakra. See Wheel. 

Ch'an-no. See Zen. 

Chen-yen. See Shingon 

Ch'a-yeh. See Maha-Kasyapa. 

China, 5, 12, i3, 25, 26, 32, 48, 56, 57, 5q {note); 

Chinkai, PL VI. 

Chou Chi-chang, Pis. XXXVI, XXXVII. 
Christ, 6, i4 {note}. 
Chuang Tzii, 55 {note). 
Cintamani, PL XX. 

Dai-Itoku (Yamantaka), 43, 45; PL XVII. 
Dai-nichi (Maha-Vairochana), 32, 37, 4o, 4i; PL 

XIV. See also Great Illuminator. 
Dance, The (Vajra-nrti), 4i-42. 
Dante, 6, 28. 
Darbha Malli-putra, PL XXXVII. 

Daruma, 4? {note), 59. See also Bodhidharma. 
Dedication {parindmand, eko), o, 10; Pis. II, 

Dharma, 4, 19. 

Dharma-cakra. See Wheel of Truth. 
Dharma ta, i4 {note). 
Dhrtarastra. See Jikoku-ten. 
Dhyana. See Zen. 
Dhyani-buddha, 4o. 
Diamond Cycle (Vajra-dhatu), 39-42; Pis. XIV, 

Dogen, 5 1 {note). 
Dragon, 55; Pis. XV, XXXIII; and tiger, 58; 


Egypt, 5. 

Ekayana, 8. See also Sole Road. 

Eko. See Dedication. 

Elephant, 8, 9 {note), 11, 55; Pis. Ill, XXVI, 

E-on. See Hui Yiian. 

Eshin, Abbot (Genshin), 27^., 46; Pis. I, XI. 
Evil Ones, PL III. See also Temptations. 

Fechner, G. T., 32. 

Fenollosa, E. F., 60. 

Field of Merits {punna-kkhetta, punya-ksetra, 

fuku-den), 10. 
Flower, The (Vajra-puspa), 4i-42. 
Fra Angelico, 28. 
Francis, St., of Assisi, 6. 
Fudo (Achala), 34, 3?, 43; PL XV. 
Fugen (Samantabhadra), 45, 55, 69; Pis. XXVI, 

Fuku-den. See Field of Merits. 

Gandhara, PL IV. 

Garland, The (Vajra-mala), 4i-42. 

Gaya (Buddha-gaya), 3, 11. 

Gei-ami, PL XL. 

Genre painting, 29-30, 46, 5g. 

Genshin. See Eshin. 

Giotto, 6. 

Golden Hall (Kondo), i5, 21; Pis. V, VIII A. 

Great Assembly. See Maha-samaya. 

Great Illuminator (Maha-Vairochana), 32-35, 37, 

39-43; PL XVI. See also Dai-nichi. 
Greater Vehicle. See Mahayana. 
Greece, 5. 
Greek, i2-i3, 23. 
Guardian Kings (Shi-tenno), 21, 24; Pis. IX, 


Han-Shan (Kanzan), 56; Pis. XXXIX, XLV. 
Himalayas, 2. 
Hlnayana, i3 {note). 
Hindu, 25, 3i, 4o, 45. 
Hirotaka, Kose no, 29 {note). 
Hogai, Kano, 17-18; PL VII. 
Hokke-do,_i7, 23, 24-25; Pis. VI, VIII B. 
Hokke-kyo. See Lotus of Truth, The. 
Hokke-mandala, 17, 23; PL VI. 



H5ryu-ji, i5, 22; Pis. II, V, VIII A. 

Hosetsu, PL XXXV. 

Hsiao Wu, PL XXXVIII. 

Hsieh Ho, 48 (nole). 

Hsien, 55. See also Men of the Mountains. 

Hui Yuan, PL XXXVIII. 

Ichiji-kinrin, PL XIV. See also Dai-nichi. 
Illuminator. {See Vairochana) ; the Great 

(see Great Illuminator). 
Immobile Deity, 3A, Sy, 43. See also Achala and 

Incense, The (Vajra-dhupa), 4i-42. 
Indestructibles (Vajra), 4i-/i2. 
India, 2, 5, 8, 12, 19, 25; PL VI. 
Indian, Pis. II, VI,'XIX. 
Indra, 12, 26, 4o; PL IV A. 

Japan, 12, i3, igj., 26, 32, ^8, 57; P/. II. 

Jewel (Ratna), Sg; PL XXI. See also Cintamani. 

Jikoku-ten (Dhrtarastra), PL IX {legend). 

Jittoku. See Shih-Te. 

Jizo (Ksiti-garbha), 44; Pis. XXI, XXVIII. 

Josetsu, PL XLII. 

Kaidan-in, 23, 24. 

Kakemono, 29 {nole). 

Kano school, 59-61. 

Kanshin, PL VI. 

Kanzan. See Han-Shan. 

Kapilavastu, 2. 

Kasi (Benares), 4. 

Kasuga, 23; PL XXVIII. 

Kasuga school, 46; PL XXIII. 

Kato Chikage, PL XLIV. 

Kaurikara. See Kurikara. 

Keizan, 5o {note). 

Kenzan, PL XLVII. 

Ketu, PL XXII. 

Kinkara. See Konkara. 

KSetsu, 59-61. 

Kokei (Hu-hsi). See Laughers of Hu-hsi, The three. 

Kokuzo (Akasa-garbha), 44; Pis. XXII, XXIII. 

Komoku-ten (Virupaksa), PL IX A. 

Komu-so, 54. 

Kondo. See Golden Hall. 

Kongo-kai. See Diamond Cycle. 

Konkara (Kinkara), PL XV. 

Korea, 12, 19; PL II. 

Korin, Sg. 

Ksiti-garbha, 44. See also Jizo. 

Kuan Yin (Avalokitesvara, Kwannon), 17 {note); 
PL II. See also Kwannon. 

Kudara. See Pekche. 

Kurikara (KaurikaraP), PL XV. 

Kwannon (Avalokitesvara, Kuan Yin), 17-18, 28, 
44, 55, 59; Pis. I, VII, XIII, XIX, XX, XXVIII, 
XXXII, XXXIII. See also Avalokitesvara. 

Lamp, The (Vajra-aloka), 4i-42. 

Landscape, 4?, 56-57; PI- XXIX, XLI, XLII. 

Laughers of Hu-hsi, The three, PL XXXVIII. 

Lesser Vehicle. See HInayana. 

Lin T'ing-kuei, Pis. XXXVI, XXXVII. 

Lion, 8, 9 {note), n, 55; Pis. XXIV, XXXV. 

Lo-han, 55 {note). See also Rakan. 

Lotus, 4, II, i5, 24, 3g; PL XX B. 

Lotus of Truth, The (Sad-dharma-pundarika, 

Hokke-kyo), 4 {note). 6, i^ff. 60; PL II {legend). 
Lu Hsiu-ching, PL XXXVIII. 

Maha-KaSyapa, 49; PL II. 
Maha-samaya, i3. 
Maha-Sthanaprapta. See Seishi. 
Maha-Vairochana, 32; PL XV. .See also Dai-nichi 

and Great Illuminator. 
Mahayana, iSff, 26; PL XXVII {legend). 
Makimono, 2g {note). 

Mandala, i5, 38-42, 45-46; Pis. VI, XVI, XXVIII. 
Manjusri, 45. See also Monju. 
Mantra. See Shingon. 
Mara. See Evil Ones and Temptations. 
Masanobu, Kano, 5g. 
Maurya. See Peacocks. 

Men of the Mountains (Hsien, Sennin), 55-56. 
Men Wu-kuan, PL XXX. 
Mikasa, PL XXVIII. 
Minobu, 61 {note). 
Miyamoto Musashi, PL XLVI. 
Moku-un. See Ryutaku Ten-in. 
Monju (Manjusri), 43-44, 45, 55; Ph. XXIV, 

Moon, The, 4o; PL XXII. 
Motonobu, Kano, 59-60, 61 {note); PL XXXII. 

Nara, i5 {note), 17 {note), 22, 23, 25 {note). 
Nepal, i3 {note). 
Nichiren, 60-61. 
Nirvana, 8; PL IV A. 

Okakura, Kakuzo, 48, 55, 58, 61. 
Osaka, 22. 

Padma-pani, PL II. 

Parinamana. See Dedication. 

Patanjali,P;. XVI {legend). 

Pathway to Immortality {amatam padam) , 8. 

Peacocks (Maurya), PL III. 

Pekche, King of, 19. 

Perfume, The (Vajra-gandha), 4i-42. 

Persian, 25 {note), 3i. 

Phoenix Hall, (H6w5-d6), 27. 

Planets, PL XXII. 

Play, The (Vajra-lasa), 4i-42. 

Prabhuta-ratna, PL II. 

Pufifia-kkhetta. See Field of Merits. 

Punya-ksetra. iSee Field of Merits. 

Raga. See Aizen. 
Rahu, PL XXII. 
Raiko-ji, 29 {note). 

Rakan (Arhant, Lo-han), 55, 5q. See also Arhant. 
Ratna. See Jewel. 
Riku Shusei. See Lu Hsiu-ching. 
Rin-teikei. See Lin T'ing-kuei. 
R5ben, Abbot, 25 {note). 

Ryobu Mandala, 45-46. See also Syncretic Man- 
Ryobu Shinto, 45-46; PL XXVIII. 
Ryogen. See Sonan. 
Ryutaku Ten-in, PL XLI. 

Sad-dharma-pundarlka. See Lotus of Truth, The. 

Sakya clan, 2, 8. 

Sakya-muni,P/s. ILVI. See a/so Shaka and Buddha. 

Samantabhadra, 45. See also Fugen. 

Sanchi, 11; Pis. II, III. 

Sangha, 4, 5. 

Sasakawa, T., 61 {note). 

Seishi (Maha-Sthanaprapta), 28; Pis. I, XIII. 

Seitaka (Caitaka?), PL XV. 



Sennin. See Hsien and Men of the Mountains. 
Sesshu, lii, 52, 53 (note), 5?; PL XXIX, XXXIII. 
Shaka, Pis. XXVII B, XXVIII, XXXI. See also 

Buddha and Sakya-muni. 
Shakaku. See Hsieh Ho. 
Shaku-hachi, 54. 
Shih-chia. See ^akya-muni. 
Shih-Te (Jittoku), 56; Pis. XXXIX, XL, XLV. 
Shingon (Mantra, Chen-yen), 26, 3i-46, 48; Pis. 

Shinto, 45-46. 

Shi-tenn5. .See Guardian Kings. 
Shohaku, Soga, PL XXXVIII. 
Shomu, Emperor, aS. 
Shoso-in, 25 {note). 
Shotoku, Prince, 20^. 
Shubun, Soga, PL XLI. 
Shuji (BIja), PL XVI. 
Shu-kijo. See Chou Chi-chang. 
Shunsho, Katsukawa, Pis. XLIV, XLV. 
Sole Road (Ekayana), 8, 10, 16. 
Sonan, PL XXXIX. 
Song, The (Vajra-giti), 4i-42. 
Stupa (Thupa, Tope), 10, 16; PL III. 
Suiko, Empress, 20. 
Sukhavati-vyuha, 26ff. 
Sun, The, 4o; PL XXII. 
Syncretic Mandala, PL XXVIII. See also Ryobu 


Taizo-kai. See Womb-Store Cycle. 

Takuma school, 27; PL XXVII. 

Tamenari, Takuma, 27. 

Ta-mo. See Bodhidharma and Daruma. 

Tamon-ten (Vaisravana), PL IX (legend). 

Tanyo, Kano, PL XXXIV. 

Taoism, 55-57. 

T'ao Yuan-ming, PL XXXVIII. 

Tathagata, 3, 4- See also Truth- winner. 

Tea, 42 (note), 61-62. 

Temptations, The, PL IV B. 

Tempyo, 22-26; PL XIX. 

Tenno-ji, 22. 

Three Treasures, The (Tri-ratna, Ratna-traya, 

Sambo), 5, 20, 25. 
Tibet, i3 (note). 

Tiger. See Dragon. 

To Enmei. See T'ao Yiian-ming. 

T6dai-ji, 23ff; Pis. VI, VIII B. 

T5haku, Hasegawa, PL XLIII. 

To-pao. See Prabhuta-ratna. 

Tosa school, 46. 

Tranquil Session (Zazen), 5i. 

Truth, 16. .See also Dharma and Dharmata. 

Truth-winner (Tathagata), 3-5, 8. 

Unkei school, PL XIII. 
Ursa Major, PL XXII. 
Utanosuke, Kano, PL XXXI. 

Vacuity Friars (Komu-so), 54- 

Vairochana (Lochana, Birushana or Rushana), 


Vaisravana. See Tamon-ten. 

Vajra, 39, 4i-42; P/. XVII, XVIII. See also Indes- 

Vajra-pani, PL II. 
Vimaladatta, King, PL II. 
Virudhaka. ^ee Zocho-ten. 
Virijpaksa. See Komoku-ten. 
Vulture Peak (Ghrdhra-kuta, Ry5ju-sen), 17. 

Wang Chung-shu, 48 (note). 

Wen Li, PL XXX. 

Wheel of Truth, The (Dharma-cakra), 4; PL XX. 

Wheel (Cakra), 11-12; PL XXVI. 

Willow, 18. 

Wind-frame, 48, 59. 

Womb-Store Cycle (Garbha-kuksi), 39-43; PL XVI. 

Yaku-5. See Bhaisajya-raja. 
Yakushi (Bhaisajya-guru), PL XXVIII. 
Yamantaka, 43. See also Dai-Itoku. 
Yamato school, PL XXIII. 
Yao-wang. See Bhaisajya-raja. 

Zazen, 5o (note), 5i. 

Zen, 42 (note), 47-62; Pis. XXX, 
Zend-Avesta, 32. 
Zeus, 12. 
Zocho-ten (Virudhaka), PL IX B. 


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